Thursday, September 30, 2010
J. Andrew Lockwood
September 30, 2010
A pair of firsts came along the women’s golf teams’ way recently as they captured their first tournament title of the year and their first outright individual title in several years. Winning the tournament on a playoff hole, Mercer freshman Lacey Fears showed her stuff with a par of low scores (71-72) in the first two rounds before defeating runner-up Greta Lange of Shorter College (74-69). Mercer (594) would easily take the team victory over the other ten teams in the field, besting runner-up Shorter (618) by 24 strokes. Eight other teams from Georgia were represented as well as Flagler College from Florida.
“The Eat-A-Peach was a big win for us and got us going in the right direction,” said head coach Gary Guyer. “The teams we beat were playing at the level we were playing at when I first arrived here [three years ago]. We made huge strides in shooting a 294 and 300 and anytime you shoot below 300, that’s a great accomplishment,” he added.
While Fears took home the tournament title, her teammates were on her heels, capped by fellow freshman Mary Alice Murphy’s 3rd place finish (72-73). Alicia Poole would follow in 5th (74-78) while Kayli Wicker (8th, 79-75), Aurelie Wiriath (T-10th, 77-79), Kimberly Graff (T-10th, 79-77), Keri Lynn Carson (T-14th, 79-79), Kaitlin Marrin (T-23rd, 75-87), and Jessica Arthur (T-37th, 83-88) would round out both Mercer lineups in the tournament. Notably, former Mercer player Leslie Choucard would place 4th in the final tournament standings for Flagler, shooting a 72-77 and standing in contention during the two-day classic.
“I’m very happy with our freshman girls,” Guyer added. “They’ve come a long way for us and winning a tournament, especially in a sudden-death type manner, was exciting. I’m team is coming together and we’re looking forward to the LPGA Invitational.”
The final playoff hole was quite the duel between Fears and Lange. Fears opened up with a drive 20 yards past Lange and played with smart shots on her way to two-putting for the win. Lange would triple-bogey and settle for second.
Mercer’s next test comes at the LPGA Invitational at the Legends Course in Daytona, Florida. The national tournament hosted by Xavier University will pit Mercer against some of the top teams in the country and will provide the hardest test to date for the Bears. Afterwards, only one tournament remains on the fall schedule as they travel to Greenville for the Lady Paladin Invitational.
J. Andrew Lockwood
September 30, 2010
It wasn’t pretty after the first day of the VCU Shootout in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. The Mercer men carded a team-combined 307, sitting in last place by three strokes. But once again, head coach Andrew Tredway’s team showed why they resemble a modern day Rocky Balboa of the A-Sun. Tuesday, the final day of the tournament, Mercer cut their team score to 291, 4th best on the day to move them into a tie for 11th place.
"We got off to a rough start and just did our best to recover and finish 11th,” said Tredway. “Obviously that doesn't look that great but it's not too bad with the way we started. I need to do a better job at having our players ready to go during the first rounds of the tournament," he added.
Three of Tredway’s five players turned in progressively lower scores as the tournament continued, headed by Matt Kocolowski’s final round 70 to finish the tournament at +5 (T-31st). Josh Cone also pulled off the feat, shooting 76, 75, and 72 to finish two strokes back from Kocolowski in a tie for 37th while John Gregory Joseph (+10, T-49th), Mookie DeMoss (+11, T-53rd), and Stefan Labuschagne (+11, T-53rd) would follow in their wake. Winning the team title, UNC-Wilmington would finish a blistering -2 for the three-day classic, 31 strokes ahead of Mercer’s +29.
"The VCU Shootout is one of the great college events in the country each fall,” Tredway added. “Looking at the caliber of the teams in the field it's definitely an upper tier event. Both our coaching staff and players would rather compete against the very best than play weaker teams just to get wins. We have beaten some of the very best in the nation the last several years and this team will do that once we get ourselves in position after the first round,” said the head coach.
Indeed, Mercer found themselves pitted against many top tier teams. While UNC-Wilmington won, other schools from larger conferences were represented in Wake Forest (2nd – ACC), East Carolina (3rd – CUSA), Virginia Tech (8th – ACC), Iowa State (9th – Big 12), and host Virginia Commonwealth (10th).
After the season-opening 7th place finish at Kiawah Island and the tough finish at the VCU Shootout, Tredway has high hopes for the upcoming Brickyard Collegiate, hosted by Mercer at the Brickyard at Riverside Golf Club here in Macon.
"In order to play well at the Brickyard we have to be relaxed and ready to play during the first round,” he added. “We also need to take advantage of easy scoring opportunities that the other teams capitalize on. I think we'll have a good game plan come October 8 and we'll get off to a great start."
For the fourth year in a row, Mercer hosts a nationally recognized tournament with national powers making their way to Macon for the 15 team tournament. Boston College, Colorado State, Ole Miss, UT-Chattanooga, North Florida, Clemson, Florida State, Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and Texas-Arlington will all make the trip from out of state to Macon. In-state rivals will square off as well as Georgia, Georgia Tech, Mercer, and 2009 tournament champion and 2010 NCAA Division I Champions Augusta State will also make the visit. It’s a star-studded field that you don’t want to miss.
For more details, visit www.brickyardcollegiate.org and www.mercerbears.com.
Friday, September 17, 2010
J. Andrew Lockwood
Josh Cone can flat out play some golf. The junior showed his potential at the season-opening tournament for the Mercer men’s golf team in Charleston, South Carolina, finishing four strokes back from the eventual winner, John Duke Hudson (College of Charleston). After shooting a 76 during the first round, Cone looked sharp in the final two rounds, shooting 71s to end with a three-day total of 218. Cone’s finish helped propel Mercer to a tie for 7th place in the 12 team tournament.
"Josh Cone had an outstanding tournament,” said head coach Andrew Tredway. “I think he realized this week that he can play with anyone in the country and he certainly should feel that way with that performance against a top field. The thing he has to do now is continue to work hard and put in the time to consistently be able to play the way he is capable of playing," he added.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the opening tournament for Tredway was the way his team responded to adversity. After notching a 10th place finish as a team following the 1st round, the Bears fought to lower their score by five strokes each day to move up into an eventual tie for 7th with Davidson. North Carolina State (+9) won the team title, besting Mercer by 24 strokes.
"We're pretty excited about the team we have and for the possibilities for this year. This was a deep, quality tournament and to go out and finish 7th, beat some good teams and stay close to Vanderbilt says a lot about the makeup of our guys," said Tredway.
Matt Kocolowski improved each day of the tournament too, moving up 13 places to finish in a tie for 20th place (+10), while teammates Stefan Labuschagne (T-33rd, +13), Thomas Holmes (T-38th, +14), Mookie DeMoss (T-48th, +17), and John Gregory Joseph (T-52nd, +18) would round out Mercer’s six man roster.
"I'm really proud of the way this team hung in there this week,” Tredway added. “ Several of them got off to rough starts and really gutted it out to help the team. Kocolowski did that early in the tournament and ended up finishing top 20. That ‘never die’ attitude is what we've been missing, and now we have it."
With four new golfers on the scorecard for the tournament, the Bears are quickly reshaping their identity on the links. Following the two day tournament at the Kiawah Island Ocean Course, the Mercer men will travel to the Hermitage Country Club in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia for the Virginia Commonwealth University Shootout. The VCU Shootout will be the final tune-up for the Bears before they host the nationally recognized Brickyard Collegiate in Macon on October 8-10th.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
J. Andrew Lockwood
It had been quite a while since Mercer had someone finish a round in the top spot during tournament play. Freshman Lacey Fears did just that after the first round, leading the Chris Bannister Classic at the Silver Lakes Golf Course in Glencoe, Alabama.
Fears would finish 9th in the final standings after finishing +15 for the tournament (72, 77, 82). Mercer would fall one spot on the final day of play to finish 4th behind tournament champion Jacksonville State, Lamar, and A-Sun rival Florida Gulf Coast. Going into the final round, the Bears even had a chance to take the second spot from Lamar, but finished ten strokes back from the runner-ups and four strokes behind the FGCU Eagles. The Gamecocks of Jacksonville State easily won the tournament, posting a 899 to win by an unheralded 28 strokes over Lamar.
“We had a chance entering the day to set ourselves apart and it just didn’t happen for us,” commented head coach Gary Guyer following the season opening match. “We’ll just have to regroup and work harder,” he reported to MercerBears.com.
Fellow freshman Mary Alice Murphy would climb the standings for Mercer’s top individual finisher, taking 7th place at +14 (81, 72, 77). Teammates Kimberly Graff (+23), Aurelie Wiriath (+28), and Kaitlin Marrin (+30) would finish in 21st, 29th, and 31st respectively.
Depsite the sluggish third round finish, the tournament showed improvement from the Belle Bears who finished in the middle of the seven team tournament. The two freshman were especially impressive in their first collegiate tournament.
After the first two rounds, Guyer commented, “I walked with Mary Alice today and she was striking the ball really well. Two freshman shooting the low rounds today is really encourageing.”
The Bears now have two weeks to prepare for the annual Eat a Peach Collegiate tournament, hosted by Mercer at the local Oakview Golf Course. The tournament, geared towards regional in-state competitors, could see the Bears capture their first tournament title after a two year drought.
Monday, September 6, 2010
J. Andrew Lockwood
It took the Bears a while to win their first game, much less a match. Six matches to be exact. This past week was a rough start indeed for Head Coach Noelle Rooke’s squad as they dropped their first six matches of the year before picking up key wins at home for a three-way tie for first place in the Bear Brawl Classic.
In their defense, the schedule hasn’t exactly been the easiest either. Mercer started off the year against Eastern Washington, #9 Washington, Portland State and Seattle in the University of Washington Invitational in Seattle. After starting off the 2010 campaign 0-4, the Bears would drop an away match at Auburn before returning home for the annual tournament hosted by Mercer.
After losing 3-2 to Presbyterian in the tournament opener, Mercer raced past Tennessee-Martin and The Citadel to bring their record to 2-6.
Eastern Washington 3, Mercer 0
In the opening match of the year, Mercer forced overtime for the first two sets before running out of gas in the third, falling to Eastern Washington 26-24, 28-26, 25-13. Amiee Frutchey would lead Mercer with 10 kills, but errors would plague her team throughout the match. The Bears would commit a total of 8 serving errors and 27 attack errors on the day.
#9 Washington 3, Mercer 0
Facing their toughest non-conference opponent of the season, Mercer could do little against the Huskies on their home floor. The match was a quick one for both sides (25-13, 25-10, 25-15), but one that saw the Huskies’ starting lineup get a tune-up before their Pac-10 regular season.
Portland State 3, Mercer 0
The Vikings were a step ahead of the Bears as they used senior Whitney Phillips’ 19 kills en route to an easy victory over Mercer. Defensively, the Bears could do little to stop Portland State as they would hit .333 for the opening weekend match in comparison to Mercer’s .093. Charlayna Braxton was the bright spot for the Bears, recording 4 kills and a solo block. Krista Hurley would finish with a team-high 7 kills.
Seattle 3, Mercer 0
In the final match of the Washington-based tournament, the Pilots saw another all-star performance from Cristin Richards as she would finish the match with 20 kills and 15 digs. Mercer fought valiantly as much of the roster got some work within the match. Hurley would again lead the Bears with 9 kills on 17 attempts.
Auburn 3, Mercer 0
It was close until the end. Mercer battled the SEC’s Auburn Tigers during a mid-week match and pushed them to the limit in the first two sets, coming up just short 26-24 and 25-22. The last set was much more decisive (25-14). Auburn used the match to work out 16 players on the roster to improve to a 4-0 record for the year. Although both teams were neck and neck early in the match, Auburn’s Kelly Fidero would record 5 kills in the final set as Auburn cruised with a .591 hitting percentage.
Presbyterian 3, Mercer 2
The Bears cam oh so close to their first win of the year in their first home game of 2010 against the Blue Hose. Despite a 2-1 lead going into the 4th set, Mercer just couldn’t produce enough offense to overcome the Clinton, South Carolina based school as Rooke’s squad dropped their 6th match in a row. Krista Hurley would record 10 kills to lead the Bears on the floor.
Mercer 3, Tennessee-Martin 1
After a painfully slow start to the season, Mercer had the momentum in the Friday night match against the Skyhawks. The Bears had several huge contributors in their first win of the year including freshman setter Bridget Sheerin (40 assists, 11 digs), Amiee Frutchey (14 kills, 18 digs), and Cassie Roy (4 serving aces).
“It just all came together tonight and there are so many positives across the board,” said Head Coach Noelle Rooke. “There were a lot of contributors and we worked together to form a balanced attack. Momentum is so key in this game and we rode it when we had it,” she added on MercerBears.com.
Mercer 3, The Citadel 0
Although the final score would indicate a blowout, the match was anything but as both teams battled each other in long sets with the Bears resiliency kicking in at the end of each match. Both teams had a tough match offensively as Mercer hit .157 while the Citadel tabbed a .131 attack percentage. Statistically, Amiee Frutchey put together a solid match for Mercer, leading the way with 9 kills and 9 digs. The Bears win cemented their place in a three way tie as the 2010 Bear Brawl Champions.