With a new head coach in Carly Werwie and an all-Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) player in Elayna Bowser returning, the Loyola women’s golf team is looking to build off its best MVC finish ever in 2017-18. The Ramblers finished the MVC Championship in fifth place, the highest the team placed since joining the conference in 2013.
After two years as a graduate assistant at Carthage College in Wisconsin, Werwie is taking over for Carly Schneider, who left the program in May. Werwie said she’s looking forward to what lies ahead with her new team.
“It’s fun to work with girls who play at a high level and who want to excel out there on the golf course,” Werwie said. “Everyone gets along really great and it is like a family. I think there is a good energy between everyone with the excitement for the season.”
Werwie was a student-athlete at the Division I level herself, playing at University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2007-11. She said she knows and anticipates the competitiveness that will now come with coaching.
“It’s fun to see that competitive side of everyone and whoever wants to be the best will put that extra work in and let their numbers do the talking,” Werwie said.
After an All-MVC honor and a spot on the MVC Scholar-Athlete team last season, senior Elayna Bowser had a big summer. On July 2, she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, which is the top women’s amatuer event in the U.S. Bowser was the first Loyola golfer to ever qualify for the event, according to Loyola Athletics.
She said the tournament was key for her confidence moving forward and it showed her she was capable of playing with high-caliber golfers.
“That was by far the biggest tournament of my life,” Bowser said. “I felt like I belonged out there and that I could compete against nationally ranked players. It gave me a whole new outlook and confidence in my game that I’ve used moving forward.”
Going into her final year and one of two seniors on the team, Bowser said leadership is something that’s also important to her.
“I feel like with my experience over the summer and with my game as a whole, I can help mentor the incoming [first-years] and lead them by example on and off the golf course,” Bowser said.
The Ramblers opened their season Sept. 9, when they traveled to Normal for the Redbird Invitational, and finished tied for ninth place with Evansville. The team’s scheduled to host the Loyola Fall Invitational Sept. 17 in southern suburb Flossmoor. After winning the event last year, junior Morgan Brown said she knows it’ll take a group effort to repeat.
“We’re going to go into it with the same mindset, not necessarily just to win but to play our best games,” Brown said. “Everyone is looking pretty solid and I feel like we definitely have a good run at that one as well as a couple more tournaments this fall.”
The team will welcome two new first-years, Jenny Myslinski and Lorenza Martinez, both of whom played in the Redbird Invitational. Myslinski shot a 243 (82-81-80) to finish tied for 60th place, while Martinez ended with a 244 (79-76-89) to place 63rd. Brown said she knows the challenges of competing collegiately, especially for first years, and is embracing the opportunity to help lead the underclassmen.
“Since it’s been two years now, [I’m just] just kind of getting it going and leading the freshman and sophomores on how to compete, stay focused throughout the season, and balance school in-season,” Brown said. “Especially with the [first-years] who haven’t played in tournaments, just coaching them through what it’s going to be like and keeping their nerves down because I’m sure everybody coming in is nervous their first time at a collegiate event.”
The Ramblers are scheduled to compete in the Loyola Fall Invitational Sept. 17-18 in Flossmoor.