Women’s golf places fifth in weekend Invitational

By Jacob Onak

In its final tournament before the MAC Championships, the women’s golf team tied for fifth place out of 16 in the Dolores Black Falcon Invite.

The first day wasn’t the strongest for any of the Huskie golfers, but NIU still managed to finish day one in fifth place with a 330.

After a 15-stroke improvement from NIU on the second day, the Huskies were a bit unfortunate to not move any higher in the standings. NIU finished with a team score of 645, tying Chicago State. Tournament winner Detroit ended with a 618 while runner up Indianapolis finished with a 633.

Head coach Kim Kester said it wasn’t the conditions that beat the Huskies: It was the quality play of the other teams. Of the top four finishers, no golfer recorded a score above a 90.

Kester would like to see her team improve closer to the green before the MAC Championships.

“We’re missing a lot of putts, and to go off of that our chips aren’t getting close enough,” Kester said. “So you’re gonna have more putts when you’re not getting the balls closer to the hole…But just overall, short game we need to get better at. Our sand percentage hasn’t been good in the past few weeks, so just overall short game.”

When it came to individual finishes it was once again Jenny Niemiec who led NIU. The junior had a first-round score of 83 but came storming back in the second day to put up a 74 and finish in eighth place out of 91 golfers.

Kester said it was good to see Niemiec continue her strong play in the final regular season tournament.

“It is, it absolutely is,” Kester said. “You know, she had a stretch where she had three birdies in a row, and then her fourth one she lipped out for birdie. She never gives up, and you know none of them give up in the round, but she’s gonna fight ’till the end and she wants to birdie ever single hole, and that’s her goal. Its good momentum for her going into the MAC’s playing well. She has had her past few tournaments playing well, so it’s a good thing.”

Following Niemiec was senior Allie Parthie and sophomore Casey LaBarbera, finishing tied for 30 out of 91. Parthie was consistent in her scores, putting up a 82 and an 81, while LaBarbera took five strokes off her first-day score of 84 to end day two with a 79.

Rounding out the rest of the team was Connie Ellett, who finished tied for 38th place while her sister Taylor Ellett finished tied for 65 out of 91 golfers.

Entering as an individual and competing in her first collegiate tournament was freshman Natalya Schleebs.

Schleebs finished tied for 56 and after a poor first round score of 89 she came back and took nine strokes off her score to finish with an 80.

Kester said it was great for the young golfer to get some experience right before the final tournament of the year.

“It’s good for her to get in there and get her feet wet a little bit,” Kester said. “She had a good tournament, and hopefully she can continue to build off of the momentum that she had in that change from day one to day two. We don’t have a MAC team set yet; it won’t probably be set ’till next week sometime, so she is in the mix of it right now, so it’s always good to get more people involved.”

The Huskies will have a week and a half to practice for the MAC Championships, which are set to start April 26 at the Longaberger Golf Course in Nashport, Ohio, and will look to finish the season with a bang after coming up short this weekend.