They should be.
Both the Tigers and the Warriors have put together strong seasons on the area links in preparation for postseason play.
Now, their focus turns to trying to win an NLC Tournament title come Saturday at the Bent Oak Golf Club in Elkhart.
“Our chances of winning on Saturday are good,” said LaLonde. I think the team that has the best course management will win. NorthWood is the team to beat. They have a good solid team. We played Bent Oak in a conference meet this year. We played it ok. The girls had their good holes and a few holes with water hurt them. They know were the water is and if they avoid the water their scores will come down.”
NorthWood took the regular-season league title by going a perfect 7-0 in NLC play. The Tigers, who are 10-1 overall (prior to playing Manchester today) finished 6-1. NorthWood, which is led by junior Heidi Morganthaler, defeated Warsaw 180-189 on the Panthers’ home course on Aug. 23.
“Winning the NLC is big for every team,” noted LaLonde, whose team went 7-0 in conference play last year. “It gives your school points towards the All Conference trophy at the end of the year and helps build confidence going into sectional. Our team is playing better in the last couple of matches. We have to have good course management if we want to play well and that is what we have been working on. And it has helped us get a few lower scores.”
Warsaw’s lineup on Saturday will include seniors Morgan Sands, Elizabeth Meadows and Ashley Murrell, junior Nikki LaLonde, sophomore Alexis Manwaring.
Coverstone’s young team has played well in fashioning a 12-6 mark going into a home match with Fremont today. The Warriors shot 194 Wednesday, led by a 45 from senior Alex Goralczyk, to easily defeat West Noble and Whitko at South Shore in Syracuse. Wawasee went 4-3 in NLC regular-season play with losses to NorthWood, Warsaw and Plymouth. NorthWood edged past the Warriors 182-185.
“I expect that we will come out and play our best Saturday,” said Coverstone, whose team was 6-1 in the NLC in 2011. “Our girls are fairly unfamiliar with Bent Oak. Some of them played 9 holes there last year. You have to hit the ball straight there and the greens are tough. Keeping the ball below the pin is a priority on several of the holes.”
“We gave NorthWood a good run for the money at home, so we can compete on the right day. We just have to minimize the big numbers and have decent day on the greens. I think the girls have done an excellent job considering their youth and experience level. We have stayed very competitive in most of our matches.”The Warrior lineup includes senior Goralczyk, freshman Mikala Mawhorter and sophomores Elizabeth Jackson and Courtney McDaniel. Freshman Kylee Rostochak has also been playing the majority of the matches, although freshman Kamryn Foy played in Wednesday’s match.
NorthWood improved to 13-0 overall Wednesday by defeating Mishawaka 177-221 at McCormick Creek in Nappanee. Morganthaler led the way for the Panthers, who host Elkhart Central and New Prairie today, with a 37. NorthWood was 4-3 in the NLC a year ago. The Panthers’ lineup also includes senior Kate Adams, sophomore Rachel Beebe, freshman Linnzie Richner and junior Kayla Stankovich.
Warsaw and Wawasee will see each other again on Sept. 15 in the Warsaw Sectional at Stonehenge.