Considering what the St. Francis High girls golf team accomplished last season, coach Phil Marrone’s assertion that “We’re better this year,” says a lot about the Lancers.
After all, St. Francis won league, sectional and regional titles last fall.
It’s yet to be seen if the current Lancers can match – if not exceed – that success, but they appear to be on their way. St. Francis handily defended its West Catholic Athletic League title last week and was favored to win its third consecutive Central Coast Section crown Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s press deadline.
“The girls are playing well, and we hope it continues at CCS,” Marrone said. “We’d like to win it – we’re capable of it.”
As long as the Lancers finished among the top three teams at CCS – held at Rancho Cañada Golf Club in Carmel – they advance to next week’s CIF Northern California championships. NorCal is scheduled Monday at The Club at Crazy Horse Ranch in Salinas, where St. Francis last season won the event for the third year in a row.
“It’s a tricky but fun course,” Marrone said. “I would expect us to do well there.”
The Lancers have done well just about everywhere this year. They went 9-1 in the regular season, only losing a close match to Valley Christian to open league play Sept. 20.
“That was a real surprise,” Marrone said of the 189-193 setback at Silver Creek Country Club. “Valley Christian took a quantum leap from last year.”
St. Francis avenged the loss three weeks later, beating the Warriors 189-195 at Shoreline Golf Links. The Lancers’ top five scorers shot under 40 over the nine holes, led by junior Reisha Savadatti’s even-par 36.
St. Francis defeated Valley Christian more decisively at the WCAL championships Oct. 24 at Santa Teresa Golf Club. The Lancers shot 379; the runner-up Warriors posted a 401.
“The girls played pretty well,” said Marrone, who added that their wide margin of victory also had to do with Valley Christian’s No. 2 player being out with a broken foot.
The five St. Francis golfers who contributed to the team score shot 78 or better to place among the top 10 individually.
Junior Maya Pugatch led the Lancers with a 1-over-par 74, finishing second to the Warriors’ Quynn Duong (72). Senior Bibi Liu and freshman Aishvarya Bedi each shot 75, tying Valley Christian’s Linette Jun for third. Sophomore Alina Feng recorded a 77 (tied for sixth) and freshman Jacqueline “Doodle” Yuen carded a 78 (tied for eighth).
Liu and Pugatch have been St. Francis’ top scorers this season. Losing Liu (bound for Boston College) and fellow senior Jacqueline Sun “will leave a big hole” next year, Marrone said.
But the coach can’t worry about that now – he’s focused on getting the team back to the CIF state championships. This year’s event is scheduled Nov. 15 at Red Hill Country Club in Rancho Cucamonga, where the Lancers finished fourth two years ago. Last season, St. Francis placed sixth (last place) at state, held on the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach.