Although Loyola’s women’s golf team has improved since the spring, the Ramblers finished a mediocre fall season with an eighth place finish at the Braun Intercollegiate tournament.
After last year’s underwhelming spring season last year, Loyola’s director of golf Kyle Stefan appointed Marty Schiene as the new associate coach in the hopes of a fresh start and different results. In Schiene’s first meet as the associate coach this fall, the team took third place at the Chitown Classic in Valparaiso, Indiana. There were only three teams at the meet.
The Ramblers started the season slowly, finishing in the bottom half of their first two meets. The team then earned third place out of 10 teams at the Loyola Fall Invitational in Flossmoor, Illinois, and third place out of 11 teams at the Rocket Classic in Port Clinton, Ohio.
The Ramblers followed that up with another third place finish, this time at the Whistling Straits Intercollegiate tournament in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, out of nine teams. However, the Ramblers closed out their fall season in eighth place out of 11 teams at the Braun Intercollegiate in Evansville, Indiana.
Senior captain Natalie Meyers acknowledged the team’s struggles on the green at the last tournament of the fall season.
“Our small game struggled,” said Meyers. “I am usually pretty accurate when I’m on the green but this week I missed wide several times.”
The small game — putting when on the green — is why the Ramblers finished seventh out of 10 teams at the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championships last spring. Another problem was inconsistency, as Loyola’s former No. 1 golfer, Alex Meyers, dropped to fourth in the team and finished in a tie for 34th place at the MVC Championships last year. Then first-year golfer Jessie Staed started the season as No. 3 on Loyola’s golf team, moving up to No. 1 by the end of the season last year. She tied for 15th place out of 50 female golfers in the MVC. Summer Moser also finished in the top 20 at a tie for 18th place at the Championships.
Those outings carried over to this season as Staed and Moser led the team to top third finishes in three fall meets.
“They’ve continued their strong performances. I see them as leaders for the team,” said Stefan. “They bring an energy that the team needs.”
The women’s golf program has been in the middle of the pack since joining the MVC in 2013. During the offseason, the team has to make improvements with consistency if it wants to jump ahead of the rest of the teams in the conference, according to Meyers.
“This offseason is key for us,” Meyers said. “I’m switching over to a new driver so I’ll be in the team simulator quite a bit working on my swing.”
The team and its coaches declined to comment on other improvements that need to be made, instead focusing on their optimism for the spring season.
First-year golfer Elayna Bowser showed this fall that she is a force to be reckoned with. She played consistently all fall and most recently held a 10th place spot at the Braun Invitational going into day two of competition. The Ramblers didn’t have the opportunity to prove themselves further because the event was rained out on day two.
“[Bowser] has a confidence about her where she can make a mistake and forget about it in a matter of seconds,” Meyers said. “She’s really mature for a first-year student. It’s what’s allowed her to be a front-runner for the team in the fall.”
The team has several things to work on before the spring season comes in early February, and if the Ramblers develop consistency, the team could find itself at a steady pace going into the 2016 MVC Championships.
The Ramblers open their spring season on Feb. 8 and 9 at the Matador Invitational in Simi Valley, California.