After finishing seventh out of 10 teams at the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Preview tournament, the Loyola women’s golf team finished its fall season, which consisted of two tournament victories.
The two wins — the Loyola Fall Invitational Sept. 19 and the Butler Bulldog Invitational Oct. 10 — highlighted a positive season for the team as it picked up key victories in preparation for the spring season, according to head coach Carly Schneider.
“This fall proved to be a really successful season where we took home two tournament wins and really positioned ourselves to be successful in the conference going forward into the spring,” Schneider said.
The team’s success was rooted in its consistency across the board as four Ramblers who competed in all five tournaments scored under 80-averages. Junior Elayna Bowser led the pack with a 76.5 stroke average and the lowest round of the team all season with a 72 at the Golden Grizzlies Invitational Sept. 26, which placed her second out of 30 competitors.
“Elayna’s just a great player,” Schneider said. “She’s got the lowest scoring average on the team and finished in the 70s every time she competed this fall, which says a lot in terms of her drive and her consistency every time she gets on the course.”
The team was also led by senior Jessie Staed, who had a 78.4 stroke average and finished with a low score of 74. Staed was also the Ramblers’ only individual medalist winning the Bulldog Invitational with a low 153 strokes. The tournament was cut short after two rounds due to weather, but Staed’s performance earned her MVC Golfer of the Week honors Oct. 11. Staed outlined this success and attributed it to the team coming closer together.
“With plenty of personal and team achievements this fall, I think coming away with these results … is a good sign for our team and for a lot of us personally,” Staed said. “It shows we’re really starting to get together right in time for conference play.”
Schneider said the team hopes to use this momentum and the positive results of this fall to have a successful spring, where they hope to continue their rise and take the MVC championship.
“I think the fall as a whole was great in terms of preparation and understanding our competition going into the spring, and I think the girls are up to the challenge they face in this conference,” Schneider said. “Our overall goal going forward into the spring is to take home the MVC championship, and that’s something I think we’re close to achieving.”
Bowser mentioned this goal as a substantial challenge going forward, but something the Ramblers thought was possible since they competed against and beat other MVC teams, and neighboring programs, with consistency throughout the fall. She said the team hopes to reverse its seventh place finish at the MVC preview and take the conference crown in the spring.
“The MVC preview was a good way for us to finish out the fall because we saw what we need to do to win our conference and continue to improve,” Bowser said. “The course was not an easy one and a couple holes were the difference for us between finishing in the top three and where we did and this winter will give us a chance to fix those mistakes and be competitive in the conference.”
The team now shifts to the offseason over the winter as it prepares for the spring portion of the season to begin when it travels to Phoenix for the Grand Canyon Dual March 9-10 at Grand Canyon University.