Southmoreland girls golf team focuses on improvement
One half of Southmoreland's girls golf lineup is experienced. The other half is not.
It's up to first-year coach Gene Spadaro to blend the two into a winning combination.
Maddy Nelson, a senior, and Kelsey Shirer, a junior, will head the top of Southmoreland's lineup.
“Both will shoot anywhere from a 52 to 60,” Spadaro said. “They're about one shot apart every time they play.
“The first two golfers have to be your most consistent golfers. You need good scores out of them.”
For now, Nelson will golf in the leadoff spot, with Shirer at No. 2.
“Maddy is very consistent,” Spadaro said. “She keeps the ball in play. I was an assistant here three years ago and you can definitely see how much she has improved. Kelsey has practiced all summer and she shows up at every single practice. She's very consistent also and a very hard worker.”
Zoe Ripple, a senior, will fill the No. 3 spot.
Like Nelson and Shirer, there's not a lot of guesswork with Ripple, according to Spadaro.
“She's also very consistent, with her numbers being about four or five shots behind Maddy and Kelsey,” Spadaro said. “And she knows the golf course extremely well.”
The bottom of Southmoreland's order is up in the air.
Four freshmen are vying for spots four through six, including Nadine Matthews, Valerie Price, Lindsay Pritts and Anastazia Polakovsky.
“They all started golfing literally three months ago,” Spadaro said. “Every one of these girls just started playing. And they're all within a couple shots of each other. We're probably going to take some lumps this year at the bottom of the lineup, but next year and the following year we'll see the benefit of starting all these freshmen. This should be a good learning experience.”
Southmoreland will compete in Section 1-AA along with Derry, Ford City, Kittanning, Mt. Pleasant and St. Joseph.
“I'm not looking at wins and losses,” Spadaro said. “I'm looking at improving our scores every single match.”
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.