Women’s golf begins spring season

By Tom Burton

Huskies finish sixth in conference play

DeKALB — The women’s golf team opened its fall season in the warm Florida weather as it competed in the Mid-American Conference match play event Monday and Tuesday, finishing sixth out of 12 competing schools.

Head Coach Kim Kester said the team was put into a difficult bracket situation but fought hard and put in a good performance in their first event since Oct. 3 and 4 in the Johnie Imes Invitational in Colombia, Missouri.

“There were a lot of positives to take from the event,” Kester said. “We hit more greens than usual, which was nice to see, and to be able to get a couple wins was nice.”

The Huskies began their spring season with sophomore standout Brielle Ward, senior Lena Gautier, sophomore Kelly Anderson, freshman Isabella Samudio and junior Lexi Stalberg.

The Huskies began the tournament in their first round head-to-head match-ups with the University of Dayton, sweeping the match, 5-0. Samudio had the most convincing victory, defeating her Dayton opponent, 6 and 5.

In the quarterfinal round of the event, the Huskies took on the third-seeded Zips of Akron and fell short, 4-1 in the match-ups. Samudio added another match play win to her total, defeating her Akron opponent, 3 and 2.

Samudio went an undefeated 4-0 in her matches in the tournament. Kester said Samudio had a very humble approach in her first collegiate match play event and looks forward to what she can bring to the team going forward.

“Isabella did great [and] was full throttle from the beginning,” Kester said. “Seeing her play [in] match play for the first time was exciting.”

In the semifinal matches Tuesday, the Huskies rebounded from their tough round against Akron. The Huskies defeated the Eastern Michigan Golden Eagles, 4-1. Ward, Gautier, Anderson and Samudio each won their match-ups, and the Huskies were back on track heading into the final round.

“The ladies showed a lot of fight this weekend,” Kester said. “After a loss to Akron then having to face Eastern [Michigan] was a tough set up. They did extremely well with putting yesterday’s matches behind them and starting fresh today.”

The Huskies faced a tough team against second-seeded Western Michigan University Broncos in the final round where they fell just short, 2-1-2. Gautier and Stalberg tied their matches while Ward and Anderson were defeated in two close battles. The Broncos ended up losing only one of the matches and took the victory.

Kester said she was not worried about the team being rusty going into their first event in a few months and looks forward to the rest of the season.

“There really isn’t ever a fear with this group,” Kester said. We knew they worked hard at their games during the off-season, and it definitely showed this week. We are excited for the rest of the spring.”

The team’s next match will be Feb. 24 at the Rio Verde Invitational in Rio Verde, Arizona.