MIAMISBURG — What a difference a year makes.
In 2018, the Xenia Buccaneers girls varsity golf team was celebrating a team-low score of 216. On Wednesday, in a tough matchup against perennial power Kettering Alter, the Bucs were visibly disappointed after losing with a 217 score.
Pandomonium ensued. Players talked of holding Depression Sessions to rid themselves of their golfing grief, and not-serious-at-all murmurs were issued to fire their beloved coach for non-support.
Coach Kent Anderson had told them that they didn’t play as well as they were capable of, on PipeStone Golf Club’s very hilly par-36 back nine, eliciting lighthearted cries for his job. But he was quick to remind them that this Aug. 28 match with the Knights was a nonleague match, and that the team should use it as a tuneup for Thursday’s scheduled road match against Sidney which is a Miami Valley League match.
“We’re playing tons better than we did last season already,” Anderson said. “And with (Thursday’s) Sidney match coming up, we have a chance to improve our league record. … We’d really like to win the MVL, and we think we are capable of doing that.”
Xenia is off to a 3-1 dual match start, and they had respectable mid-pack finishes in their two invitational tournaments.
Against undefeated perennial postseason power Alter, the Bucs’ Olivia Wagner emerged as the medalist with a score of 41, one stroke better than her current season average. The rest of the Bucs were anywhere from three to 11 strokes above their averages. Anderson chalked it up to the team having a full week off prior to the Alter match.
Brynna Mardis shot a 55, Darby Nolen shot a 65, Wagner had her 41, Grace Bond turned in a 58 and Stacie Baxley carded a 63. All five Xenia players will be back on the team next season.
Anderson said the team has already made great strides over last season. They’ve turned in a sub-400 team score in a recent 18-hole invitational tournament. Prior to Wednesday’s match with Alter, Xenia had recorded three consecutive dual match team scores of 195 or lower against the likes of Miamisburg, Tippecanoe and Troy.
Just the top four individual scores for each team count toward the team total, so Alter came away with a 189-217 win. The Knights’ four scores were recorded by a foursome of all-league players from last season. All-Greater Catholic League first teamers Maggie Pascual (44), Gabby Haupt and Fiona Hoskins (50s) were joined by 2018 GCL second teamer Peyton Kuntz who shot a 45.
“We’re trying to schedule some tough matches against the area’s elite teams, to get used to that kind of pressure,” Anderson explained. “And then when we get to the MVL tournament and the sectionals, I think it will help us in the long term. It was a rough day for us, but hopefully this will be a good tuneup for (Thursday’s) league match against Sidney.
The Xenia-Sidney match is set for a 5 p.m. start at the Moose Golf Course in Sidney.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.