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Saturday, Feb 28, 2015

Fivay heavily favored in 2A-13 Tourney

Hernando Today correspondent


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Six local female links squads, including five Hernando County teams, begin their postseason trek Monday afternoon toward the 64th annual FHSAA Finals in Lake County set for Oct. 29-30.

Fivay will join Central, Hernando, Nature Coast Technical, Springstead and Weeki Wachee in the Class 2A, District 13 Tournament at Silverthorn Country Club.

Play is expected to begin with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m.

In the event of a cancellation due to poor weather or a postponement, the tourney will be completed on Tuesday.

The top three teams and top three individuals not associated with those three teams will advance to the Oct. 22 2A-Region V Tournament at New Port Richey's Heritage Springs Country Club.

The lone Pasco County entrant, Fivay, is the favorite to capture Monday's top trophy.

Head coach Jeff Peterson's Lady Falcons are coming off last week's disappointing fifth-place finish in the Sunshine Athletic Conference Tournament at Plantation Palms with an 18-hole 452-total.

According to the stats provided by Coach Peterson to tourney director Tom Brown at NCT, FHS linksters enter averaging 201 strokes per nine holes or an estimated 402 total across 18 holes.

By comparison, Hernando County squads dramatically trail the Lady Falcons behind NCT (490), Hernando (498), Springstead (508), Weeki Wachee (544) and Central (620).

Predictions for medalist honors appear to center around Lady Falcons senior Amber Mariano (who arrives averaging 47.5 shots per nine holes) and junior Samantha Dehner (48.3), and two Springstead seniors: Kylie Van Meter (48.7) and Kiki Schau (48.8).

Nature Coast concluded its first-ever unbeaten regular season at 7-0-0 under sixth-year skipper Cheryl Paradis. All seven wins were against Hernando County competition.

The Lady Sharks captured the 1A-8 Tourney last fall - for their first-ever district crown.

Playing on their home course, the Lady Sharks return three starters from last year's district championship crew including: sophomore Maddy Pickersgill (52.9 nine-hole average), senior Kaitlyn Glynn (57.4) and junior Zack Taylor (61.4).

Freshman Hailey Neuhausen (73.7), and juniors Jessica Porter (76.0) and Autumn Alexis (78.8), round out the squad.

Each team will be limited to playing its top five players. Only the top four scorers from each team count toward the team title.

If at the end of 18 holes there are any ties, the 2A-13 coaches agreed in their district meeting to utilize a match of cards.

"We're playing well," noted Coach Paradis. "Our fourth golfer dropped 10 strokes in her last match. That can make a big difference on Monday."

On the possible effects of playing 18 holes for the first time this season, "I don't think it'll make much of a difference," Paradis said. "We're one of the few teams that practices five days a week. I don't think endurance will be an issue."

On how playing at Silverthorn will help, "I think it definitely helps us," Paradis said. "Bottom line, we know how to play certain holes, but the girls still have to execute the shots. Unless you hit the ball correctly, the familiarity factor doesn't work."

Paradis admits her team's focus isn't solely on Fivay, or anybody else.

"Honestly, we're not real worried about what Fivay does or doesn't do," pointed out Paradis. "In golf, it's all about managing the course and the existing conditions. All I'm asking our girls to do is play for the moment. Play each shot as it comes. Don't worry about anyone else; take care of the business in front of you."

As far as the teams to beat, Paradis believes, "Fivay, Nature Coast and Springstead should be the top three teams. I think all the coaches agree to that."

First-year Springstead mentor Bill Vonada, whose team finished 5-5 overall, isn't concerned about his team's final scores.

The Lady Eagles, who placed second in 2A-5 a year ago, aren't the same team that reeled off 32 straight wins to close out the 2012 campaign behind a pair of four-year starters: Megan Berube and Emma Betters.

Berube, who earned a Division I golf scholarship at Indiana State, was a two-time district champ.

"We'd like our girls to peak on Monday," indicated Coach Vonada. "We think we have two girls who have a legit shot to win this in Kiki and Kylie. All I want to see is our kids play their best.

"If we don't advance as a team, I'd like to see at least two of our girls move on to regionals."

On taming Silverthorn, "There are subtle differences on every golf course," noted Vonada. "It's no different on Monday. If you play it enough, you can pick up on some things. Our kids have played Silverthorn a few times - though we haven't officially played the back nine just like everybody else."

The Hernando Lady Leopards, who earned the 1A-8 runner-up trophy last fall at Rivard, return two starters: sophomore Lauren Moore (55.8) and senior Taylor Milligan (62.4).

Third-year Lady Leopard mentor Casey Ellis, whose squad finished 6-4, fell twice to NCT by 21 and 23 strokes and split with Springstead. Against SHS, HHS lost by nine strokes and won by four shots.

"Going in, Fivay is the best team in the field and Nature Coast is second," insisted Ellis. "I think we could be the third-best team. We turned some heads by advancing to regionals last year; we'd like to continue building this year."

On Monday, according to Ellis, "We've played Silverthorn a few times; it should be fun for our kids. Even if we don't advance as a team, I'd like to see Lauren (Moore) make it to regionals. She's upped her game so much. If anybody makes it from our team, it'll be Lauren."

Weeki Wachee, 1-6-0 overall, will be led by senior Holly Brumfield (64.0).

According to second-year skipper Linda Rogers, "Weeki Wachee's goals are for each player to strive for their personal-best score for nine holes. Enjoy the camaraderie between themselves and players on their competition level. My players are really looking forward to Monday."

First-year Central mentor Lisa Hallal, whose team enters 1-8-0 overall, said "The CHS Lady Bear golfers are striving for individual improvement and all four members are looking forward to participating in the district tournament for the first time. We anticipate a strong finish with

significant growth in skills and knowledge for each golfer.

"The perseverance represented by these ladies when learning the complexities involved in playing competitive golf has been remarkable," she added. "And I am very proud of their accomplishments as individuals and as team members, as well."

CHS is led by junior Shannon Scroggins (74.5).

At a Glance

What - Class 2A, District 13 Girls Golf Tournament.

Who - Six teams are expected to be represented in this 18-hole event including: Central, Hernando, Nature Coast, Fivay, Springstead and Weeki Wachee.

Where - Silverthorn Country Club

When - Monday beginning with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m.

At Stake - Top three teams and top three individuals not associated with those three teams will advance to the Oct. 22 2A-Region V Tournament at Heritage Springs Country Club in New Port Richey.

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