Penn-Trafford girls golf team off to another hot start
After winning the WPIAL Class AAA championship in 2012, the Penn-Trafford girls golf team knew it had a lot to live up to this season.
Halfway through section play, the Warriors are holding up their end of the bargain.
Penn-Trafford completed the first half of section play Monday with a 168-208 victory over Norwin at Cherry Creek Golf Course. With seven matches remaining, the Warriors are 7-1 overall and 6-0 in the section.
“The girls are getting stronger,” coach Ed Herbst said. “They have the same desire to win as last year, and I think as seniors this year they've taken that to a new level. They don't want to lose.”
Penn-Trafford faced a difficult task in replacing three starters from last season's team, including two who went on to play golf at the Division I level.
In those players' absences, however, the Warriors are getting quality production from seniors Royse Bachtel, Casey Doran and Rachael Huber, junior Elisabeth Papa and freshman Amanda Conner.
“A lot of us play in tournaments ... and the competition really helps you get ready for the season,” said Bachtel, who took over the No. 1 spot for the Warriors. “We've all been golfing together and playing together.”
While Herbst knew what he had in returning players Bachtel, Doran, Huber and Papa, he didn't know as much about Conner before the year began.
He's been impressed by what he's seen so far.
“She's the real deal,” Herbst said. “I feel like if she works hard, she'll become very good. (That's) not to take anything away from the other kids, because Royse and Casey have the experience of winning the championship. So they've been there, and they know what it's going to be like to get back there. Elisabeth and Rachael were not starters last year, but (they) played in some matches and now they're getting their chance. I see them improving week by week.”
Herbst said his players are constantly learning from mistakes and improving as the season goes on. The team's lone loss came Aug. 23 against Peters Township, a 186-190 setback at Rolling Hills Country Club.
“It was a very tough competition (on) a very tough private course, but I think it helped us know what we need to work on,” Bachtel said. “I think that it's just like another stepping-stone.”
The Warriors were scheduled to begin the second half of section play Tuesday at Indiana before hosting Gateway at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Irwin Country Club. Penn-Trafford will then host non-section opponent Upper St. Clair on Thursday before returning to section play Monday with a home match against Franklin Regional.
Penn-Trafford began the season mostly on the road, as eight of the team's first nine matches were on road courses. The Warriors will play their final six matches at home, which Herbst believes will give his team an advantage.
“We just want to improve every match,” he said. “We're playing at home. We're just trying to get our games ready for October, so we just want to get a little bit better every week. Scores will be dictated by how well we improve as we go.”