By: Blake Blondeel
Last season, the University of Windsor Lancers women’s golf team, without a single senior, stepped to the door of its sport’s elite and gave it a healthy knock.
A year older, wiser and more experienced, the Lancers are back and believe that they’re ready to kick the door down.
For the first time in school history, the women have qualified for a spot in the Canadian College/University National Championship next May in British Columbia.
The team qualified for the tournament after finishing just one stroke away from a bronze medal, finishing fourth overall (the top four teams advance) at this year Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Championship at the Loch March Golf & Country Club hosted by the University of Ottawa.
After last season’s efforts, with a fifth-place finish and two seasons ago with a seventh-place finish at the OUA Championship, the Lancers have seen vast improvements this year with two regular season golds, a silver and a bronze medal, earning them a No. 3 seed in the OUA loop at the final tournament.
That’s due in large part to a lineup and program that has seen growth over the last few seasons.
“I was the only female player in the 2014-2015 season,” senior Emily Stadder said. “Every year since we have been able to field a full team with more women trying out each fall and performances improving. To go from one golfer to a fourth-place finish and a nationals berth in four years, I think we are headed in the right direction!”
But it’s not just the growth of the program that has the Lancers feeling confident. Their performance speaks for itself and other schools are paying attention.
“I’ve been here four years now; I think it’s our best season under my tenure,” said head coach Adam Wagner on this season. “Other schools are starting to notice us and we’re getting to know our competition.”
Led by Stadder (senior), Nicole Cesca, Tavia Maurovic (sophomores), and Melanie Burgess (freshman), this Lancer’s team has enjoyed the finest season in program history.
Burgess has been a resilient force for the Lancer’s all year long, although it has not come without some challenges of her own for the freshman second-team OUA all-star nominee.
“One of the biggest challenges for me was that your score counts as an individual, but also as a team.” Burgess continued, “If you have a bad hole, you need to recognize that the top 3 scores count. While you may be ready to give up knowing you may be out of medal contention individually, a bad hole can affect your overall round which can have a drastic effect on the team’s score. The most important thing to remember is that each shot matters, your teammates are always there to pick you up, and to make the most out of your remaining shots moving forward.”
It is that sheer determination of being a team who trusts one another’s ability that has gotten the Lancers to this point.
With one more ride together, this team has enough talent to move to the top and has another chance to make a little more history.
“With golf, sometimes you never know what you’re going to get,” Wagner said. “But this group has really done everything they could have to this point and we’re looking forward to punching our ticket to nationals.”
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