Can Warsaw or Wawasee turn the tables on NorthWood?
That’s the most intriguing question that will be answered at the Northern Lakes Conference girls’ golf tournament Saturday.
The Tigers and the Warriors are both chasing the Panthers in the league tourney slated to be played at the Maplecrest Country Club in Goshen. Action begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Warsaw and Wawasee each finished at 5-2 in NLC regular-season play. Coach Adam Yoder’s Panthers, who also won the league regular-season title in 2012, went 7-0 for the second straight year. Plymouth is also in the hunt, tying Wawasee and Warsaw with a 5-2 conference mark.
“You’re always shooting to win the NLC,” said Warsaw coach Chris LaLonde on Sept. 5 after her team lost by two strokes to the Warriors in an NLC triangular at Bent Oak in Elkhart. “You always want to do that.”
Warsaw won the NLC Tournament title a year ago and ended up sharing the overall league crown with NorthWood. The Tigers then went on to also claim a sectional championship.
“I know my girls can rebound,” LaLonde said after the loss to the Warriors. “We need to use the NLC Tournament to get our focus for the sectional.”
The Tigers improved to 13-2 overall on the season with a win over Manchester today. The Tigers shot a season best 166, led by a 34 from LaLonde today at Sycamore Golf Course in North Manchester. Warsaw lost 173-184 to NorthWood on Aug. 27 at McCormick Creek in Nappanee and then dropped a 186-188 final to Wawasee last week.
Warsaw beat Culver Academies 174-178 on Monday at Mystic Hills. The Tigers, who will host the sectional at Stonehenge on Sept. 21, have played much better at home this season.
Coach LaLonde will go with a veteran lineup on Saturday with seniors Nikki LaLonde and Elizabeth Meadows, juniors Alexis Manwaring and Kristen Watson and freshman Madi Graham.
Wawasee definitely has some momentum as it heads to the NLC event Saturday.
The Warriors improved to 15-3 overall with wins over West Noble and Whitko Wednesday.
“We just need to go out and play the best we can at the NLC,” said Wawasee coach Steve Coverstone following the huge win over Warsaw last week at Bent Oak. “We have to figure out Maplecrest because we have not played very well there in the past.
“The key for us lately has been playing well away from our home course. I’d like to see 4-5 scores under 50 at the NLC. That gives you a chance. Our girls just have to focus on how they play.”
Wawasee, which is scheduled to play Fremont today, lost 179-182 to NorthWood Aug. 29 in Nappanee. The Warriors also dropped a league match to Plymouth.
The Warrior lineup on Saturday will feature plenty of youth. Freshman Aubrey Schmeltz will be joined by sophomores Mikala Mawhorter, Kylee Rostochak and junior Elizabeth Jackson. The fifth member of the Wawasee lineup for Saturday was still to be determined as of late Wednesday night according to coach Coverstone.
NorthWood went 7-0 in the NLC this season for just the second time in school history. The Panthers had seven top three finishes this season in the 10 18-hole invitationals they have played in.
Senior Heidi Morganthaler, a four-year stalwart, leads the Panthers. Freshman Summer Stillson is also a key piece in the NorthWood lineup this fall.
The Panthers finished at 10-0 overall with a win versus Mishawaka today. NorthWood shot a program record 169 in the victory at the Eberhart-Petro course in Mishawaka.