After tough season, Gateway girls coach pleased with lowered scores

Michael Love
| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Gateway varsity girls golf head coach Dennis Persin said the improvement in his team as the season went on came down to simply getting more experience in practices and in matches.

The Gators finished 1-11 in Section 3-AAA matches, but, Persin said, he liked the way the squad lowered its team average from 231 over its first six section matches to 210 in its final six matches.

“I am proud of the progress they made throughout the season,” Persin said.

“We had chances to win a couple more matches. Managing mistakes and staying away from big numbers is the key to victories. It's a young team overall, and they have the potential to be better and win matches next year.”

Along with the improving team scores, a number of the team members achieved season-low scores in the second half of the season.

Sophomore Johnna Beehner's 34 was the best round in nine-hole match competition, and she was below 40 seven times.

Senior Abbi Semnisky missed two midseason matches because of an injury, but she played her best golf when she returned.

She carded a 56 three times, and her season-best of 54 came in her final match, a tough 172-208 loss to WPIAL power Peters Township on Oct. 2.

Junior Kendall Alexander averaged 59 for the season, but she shot her season best of 49 in a match against Indiana on Sept. 25.

Junior Ashley Klein had her low score of 60 against Shady Side Academy at Fox Chapel Golf Club, and freshman Cassie Kokal reduced her scores in her first season to a season-best 55 against Indiana (Sept. 25).

Junior Julia Hyzy carded a season-low score of 57 against Franklin Regional on Sept. 9.

She was hampered by a shoulder injury over the second half of the campaign.

Gateway tallied its lone win of the season on Sept. 26 against Franklin Regional at Murrysville Golf Course. The Gators' season-best score of 205 came in their 183-205 loss to Indiana on Sept. 25.

“I was happy to see that win for Abbi and everyone,” Persin said. “It was good to get that win. Everyone was excited.”

Semnisky is the team's lone senior.

“Hopefully, the returning players will play more in the offseason,” Persin said.

“There are ways to play and hit balls, even in the winter.

“There is interest from younger players. Hopefully, we can keep fielding a competitive team.”

PIAA Regionals

Beehner was one step away from her second PIAA state finals in as many years as she took part, weather permitting, in an 18-hole regional tournament Wednesday at Tom's Run Golf Club in Blairsville.

There were 10 golfers in the girls Class AAA field, and the top six from that group advanced to states.

The tournament was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition. For information on Beehner's round, visit

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at

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