Plum girls golf squad ties for second place in section, earns WPIAL trip
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Plum varsity boys golf team defeated Gateway, 207-212, on Oct. 1 to conclude its Section 4-AAA slate at 8-4.
Kiski Area and Franklin Regional also ended their section schedules at 8-4.
Plum swept Franklin Regional, while the Panthers took two from Kiski Area, and the Cavaliers beat the Mustangs twice.
While Fox Chapel ended the 12-game section scheduled undefeated, Plum joined Franklin Regional and Kiski Area in the WPIAL playoffs.
The top two teams from each section made the WPIAL team semifinals, and since the tie between Plum, Kiski Area and Franklin Regional couldn't be broken by looking at head-to-head competition, all three teams qualified.
Mustangs head coach Ron Richards said he didn't know when the last time a Plum team golfed in the WPIAL playoffs, but it has been the better part of two decades.
“It's a neat thing for the kids, and they're excited about it,” Richards said.
“It was nice to see them win their last two matches, something they needed to do to get into the playoffs. You try every year to extend your season into the playoffs regardless of what sport you are in. We knew we had the talent this year to make a run at the playoffs.”
Plum was slated to golf Tuesday in the semifinal tournament at River Forest Golf Club in Freeport.
The tournament was not scheduled to be completed until after the deadline for this week's edition.
The top three teams from each of the three semifinal sites advance to Thursday's WPIAL team finals at Cedarbrook Golf Club in Belle Vernon.
Richards said there were a lot of close section matches this season, and Plum won four of its final five to qualify.
Included in the stretch run was a seven-stroke victory over Franklin Regional on Sept. 10.
The Mustangs also defeated Franklin Regional by two strokes, 236-238, at Oakmont Country Club.
“It's been a really fun season,” senior J.P. Predmore said.
“We definitely had the confidence at the start of the season we could make the playoffs. We basically had everyone back from last year, and we knew what each other could do. To qualify for the playoffs means a lot to everyone.”
Junior Andrew Reynolds ended the regular season with the top nine-hole average on the team with a 40. The WPIAL individual finals qualifier was not alone, Richards said, as the top six golfers on the team had averages in the 40s.
“We had different medalists at times throughout the season. We asked them to go out and play their best golf, and they've done that,” he said.
Junior Justin Sovak (43), sophomore Samantha Shumaker (44), junior Richie Rossi (46), Predmore (46) and junior Tyler Arnold (47) round out the top six scorers.
“Golf is much more of a mental grind,” Richards said.
“It's swing to swing. You can't let one bad swing or one bad hole get to you or the game will eat you up. We've talked with them all season about keeping away from a big number. For the most part, they've done a good job with that.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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