By Will Willems Sports Editor
Clayton — The sixth-ranked Zionsville Lady Eagles golf team opened up the regular season Monday afternoon.
Just as they did the year before, the Eagles dominated at the Plainfield Invite, shooting a 317 to win the event by 50 shots.
“I am very pleased with the girls’ efforts today,” Zionsville head coach Jeff Anderson said. “I think the pace dragged out a little bit at the end, but all-in-all, you can’t complain with the score at all; I am just very pleased.”
Greenwood placed second with a 367 and Plainfield was third with a 370.
Zionsville’s senior Lucy Stevens, who returned to ZCHS after attending Guerin Catholic the past two years, was the meet medalist with a 74.
Morgan Reid was third overall and second on the team with a 79.
Anderson was happy to have two girls break 80 in the first meet — a trend he expects to continue.
“What we are looking at this year is that we have five girls on our team that are capable of shooting in the 70s at any given time,” Anderson said. “It is a real fortunate situation to be in. We have a really solid group of kids.”
Maria Impicciche shot an 80 and Elizabeth Schuler an 84 to round out the scoring quartet.
The fifth Zionsville golfer was Siena Cornacchini, who shot an 87.
It was the first tournament in what will be an extremely busy first week for the Eagles.
The team will play in the Lafayette Jefferson Booster Invite today at Battle Ground, the Wildkat Invitational in Kokomo Wednesday and the Pre-State Meet at the Legends Saturday.
“It is fun for the girls, this is the fun time of the year,” Anderson said. “The pressure comes at the end, the fun comes at the beginning of the season. It is unfortunate that some of the schools — with the way the new calendar is — don’t get a chance to play in these big tournaments. We are fortunate that we are going to get four in this week and a couple more next week. We are looking forward to the fun of it.”
Anderson said that with a decent number of schools moving to the year-round school calendar this year, they won’t see some of the schools that they normally would this early in the season.
Anderson said the Eagles just have to focus on themselves and can’t worry about what other teams are there or not there.
“With golf, you just play your game no matter who is on the course with you,” Anderson said. “At the end, wherever you fall is where is fall. We do miss seeing some of those teams that we are used to. I know with our invitational next week, we are going to be down a couple teams.”
The Lafayette Jefferson Booster Invite starts at 8:30 a.m. today and will also include Lebanon and Western Boone.
High Expectations for Eagles
Coming in with five seniors and a pre-season ranking in the top-10, the expectations are high in Zionsville for what their girls golf team can accomplish in the 2013 season.
Zionsville has made it to state the past three seasons, finishing in a tie for eighth last year.
“I told these girls a couple of years ago that we were on a three-year plan,” Anderson said. “Most of them were on varsity as sophomores. The first year was just to see where we were. The second year was to improve on that and now we know where we were and can go after things a little bit. They are getting a feel for what to do in tournaments, how to prepare themselves, what demeanor they need on the course. It is a mature group of kids and a fun group of kids. They are deserving of everything coming at them.”
The five seniors on the roster are Siena Cornacchini, Maria Impicciche, Morgan Reid, Elizabeth Schuler and Lucy Stevens.
Cornacchini, Impicciche and Reid were part of the state qualifying team as sophomores, finishing 12th. Last year, Schuler joined the three on varsity, and had the best score on the team over the two days at state while helping the team place eighth.
Gone from both of those teams is Kylie Day, who graduated this past spring. Jumping into her spot will be Stevens, who is no stranger to success in high school golf.
As a freshman, Stevens played varsity at Zionsville and was part of the team that placed seventh at state. She attended Guerin Catholic for her sophomore and junior seasons, advancing to state as an individual in 2011 and qualifying for the regional in 2012.
She is now back with the Eagles and Anderson said she will slide in nicely to the lineup.
“All five girls are right at the same talent level,” Anderson said. “They are all capable of doing the same things. It takes the pressure off of the other four when you know you have a solid fifth golfer in the lineup. We were blessed with that last year too with Kylie in the lineup, and now we add Lucy so we still have five girls who can shoot low numbers and it is just who is going to step up on that day.”
Anderson said the team all gets along well and support one another on the course.
“They don’t have that competition with one another, but they have that support for one another,” he said. “They are all excited when someone puts up a good number on that day.”
The Hoosier Crossroads Conference is always a tough battle in golf.
This season, they have four teams ranked in the pre-season top-10 with Hamilton Southeastern (fifth), Zionsville (sixth), Lafayette Jefferson (seventh) and Noblesville (10th).
“We have the hardest conference in the state it seems every year,” Anderson said. “I look at the pre-season rankings — not that you can put much stock into that — and there are Lafayette Jeff, Noblesville and Hamilton Southeastern right there. It is just a really talented conference. We have to show up in our conference tournament and do something this year. We haven’t placed better than third since I have been here. We would like to improve our ranking in the conference and know if we can do well in the conference we can do well anywhere.”
There will be a new twist in the postseason for the Eagles for the second-straight year.
Last year, it was fewer teams qualifying for state, but every team that did qualify getting two rounds instead of having a cut after day one.
This year, the Eagles will head to a new sectional.
A longtime member of the Ben Davis Sectional, Zionsville will head instead to Crawfordsville.
While a different challenge, Anderson isn’t all that concerned with the move.
“We are going to run into a lot of the same teams we have in the regional, but we can’t worry about what anyone else is doing,” he said. “We have to go in there, play our best and see where we lie. Our kids over the years have learned to love South Grove (host of the Ben Davis Sectional). We hate to go away from it, but at the same time, we look forward to new courses and new challenges. I don’t think any of us have been up to Crawfordsville to see it.”
Anderson said Monday that the Eagles haven’t sat down and talked about goals for the season, but will probably do it after finishing the first week of the season.
“They have high expectations as team and it is just a matter of individually can they reach their personal goals,” Anderson said.