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July 9, 2012

Standley optimistic heading into 2012

Senior captain Morgan Wilkinson leads a deep and talented Augustana women's golf team. The Vikings return five of their top six golfers from last season.

With a team that only graduated one senior from last year's squad, Augustana women's golf coach Ron Standley has a wealth of talent returning to the links for the 2012-13 season. The Vikings will return five of their top six golfers from last season and there will be plenty of competition for the final spot on the roster. There is even the possibility that some of the returning top six could be knocked out of their spot by some of the other talented players.

 "This is one of the deepest teams we have ever had," says Standley, who is entering his 14th at the helm of the women's golf team. "I expect there to be heavy competition for our top six spots with so many promising players returning from last year's squad. Hopefully we can build on last year's success."

A roster returning two seniors, nine juniors, and two sophomores will welcome two additional sophomores and four freshmen into the mix for the upcoming season. Of the 13 returning players, 10 are letter winners and the others have shown glimpses of being ready to compete for one of the top six spots. In fact, last season's lineup featured five different players at the number one spot.

"Up and down the roster, this could be one of the best teams we have ever had," said Standley. "Our returning players are going to be very competitive because of the experience they received from last year and some of the newcomers will be very competitive as well. Overall, I would say that we have a good, solid crew on the team this year."

Leading what is expected to be a very good group of players will be senior captains Megan Vandersee (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.) and Morgan Wilkinson (Westmont HS, Westmont, Ill.). "I expect Megan and Morgan to be great leaders for us this year," said Standley.

Vandersee was the team's MVP during her sophomore campaign and has been fixture in the Vikings top six her entire career. "Megan has been a consistent leader her entire career," said Standley, "and I expect her to be big again this year."  Last year Vandersee averaged 91.1 strokes per round with 16 rounds played and had a low round of 83. She had six individual top 10 finishes last season.

Wilkinson was the team's co-MVP as a junior and Standley expects big things out of her during her senior season. "Morgan is going to be a big part of our success this season," said Standley. "She is not only one of our best players but one of our leaders and I expect her to set the tone for the rest of the team." Wilkinson recorded an 88.8 stroke per round average last season, which was good for second best on the team. She also tied for the lowest individual round score when she shot an 82 at the Augie Quad meet. She took home the individual title at Monmouth's Fighting Scot Invitational on April 27, as well.

Standley is also looking at his juniors to be key contributors to the success in 2012-13. In particular he is hoping for key contributions from Dena Capitani (Hinsdale Central HS, Hinsdale, Ill.), Kelly Farina (Normal West HS, Bloomington, Ill.), and Jamie Lawrence (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.), all of whom were in the Vikings' top six at the conference meet last year. Capitani recorded a 91.1 strokes per round average and tied for the lowest individual round on the team with an 82. She placed in the individual top 10 four times and once was in the top five. Farina was the top finisher for Augustana at the conference meet last season with a 15th place finish. She recorded a 90.2 strokes per round average and tied for the lowest individual round after shooting an 82. She finished in the individual top five once and was a top ten finisher five times. Lawrence was named the team's Most Inspirational golfer last season. She recorded a season average of 92.4 strokes per round while finishing in the individual top ten four times and the top five once. . Lawrence was also named College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin "Golfer of the Week" on September 21 after tying for third at the Benedictine Invitational.

Standley is also expecting big things from juniors Megan Alano (Lockport Township HS, Crest Hill, Ill.), Katelyn Lazar (Williamsville HS, Sherman, Ill.), and Kelly Olson (Prairie Ridge HS, Crystal Lake, Ill.) and sophomores Kaitlyn Czerwonka (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.) and Megan Scott (York HS, Villa Park, Ill.). Alano and Olson earned Most Improved honors on last year's squad. They averaged 105.8 and 103.4 strokes per round, respectively. Lazar average 100.7 strokes per round with seven rounds played. Czerwonka was named Most Valuable Freshman last season after posting a 99.5 strokes per round average over eight rounds. Scott also played eight rounds and average 103.4 strokes per round. "These girls showed glimpses of their potential and I am expecting them to be competitive this year," said Standley. 

Standley thinks that three of the incoming freshmen have the potential to compete right away. Samantha Barlage (Marian Catholic HS, Lansing, Mich.), Michelle Dempster (Mother McAuley HS, Oaklawn, Ill.), and Caitlin Doherty (Westmont HS, Westmont, Ill.) could find themselves in the thick of the competition for a roster spot.  

When asked how this year's version of the Vikings women's golf team will compare to last seasons, Standley has high hopes for this year's squad. "I think we have the potential to as good, if not better, than last season," said to Standley. "Our deep roster of talent will be very beneficial to putting out a competitive team week in and week out."


-Story written by student assistant Paul Hurd