Men’s and women’s golf finish fall season undefeated

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Men’s golf captain Jack Moeller (junior) discusses the team’s fall season outside Swan Hall at Occidental College in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Dominic Massimino/The Occidental

Occidental’s men’s and women’s golf teams finished their fall season undefeated in all dual matches. The men’s team played two dual matches, winning against Marymount University 285–295 and Providence College 309–312. The women’s team played three dual matches and beat Marymount University 343–358, Chapman University 342–348 and Providence College 269–285.

The teams also competed at the California State Intercollegiate match, where the women’s team shot a four-player total of 319 on the second day. First year Nikolai Friedman led the men’s team, shooting a 2-over par 218 total over 54 holes.

Will Morris, head men’s and women’s golf coach, said Occidental scored around the middle among the schools in the California State Intercollegiate event, facing opponents ranked top 10 in the nation. For the dual matches, Morris said the team set new records this season and has a bright future, with both teams composed of young players. The women’s team won all dual matches with two wins in the spring season and three in the fall this year, according to Morris.

“We won five straight [matches]. I don’t think any women’s team has ever done that here,” Morris said. “In our first dual match this year against Marymount University, we shot 3-under par, which was very good, and one of the lowest scores in school history.”

Co-captain Jack Moeller (junior) said the team’s success this fall season is a good stepping stone for the spring season. According to Moeller, the men’s team is deep and every player can play an important role.

‘Deep team’ means the amount of quality players we have. I think every player on this team can make a meaningful contribution in the matches,” Moeller said.

Women’s team captain Nicole Henderson (senior) said the fall season has been a good bonding experience for the team which was part of the reason why they performed so well.

“I think everyone is gelling really nicely together, which helps us all remain calm,” Henderson said. “I think that a big part of golf is balancing your mental state and executing good shots. It makes it easy to play golf when you have good teammates.”

According to Morris, this year there were a total of eight first-year recruits added to the golf team: three for the women’s team and five for the men’s. Juliette Ruaux (first year) scored 162 points for the team in the California State Invitational. Ruaux said she felt great about this season, and aside from playing golf, traveling with the team to competitions was a fun experience for her.

“We traveled to Ventura, so that was our first traveling experience that I’ve had, and that the other freshmen also had,” Ruaux said. “But it was just fun to be part of the family and have that community experience.”

For Ruaux, high school golf differs from playing at Occidental because the pressure is different. She said in high school, the pressure was about impressing the college coach; in college, the focus shifts to improving techniques and competing well. Outside of the golf team, Ruaux said she found the Occidental community, particularly her professors, to be very supportive and accommodating of her role as a student-athlete.

“The athletic department and the trainers, they all really make us feel like we belong here,” Ruaux said.

According to Morris, the NCAA regulates the college golf season to be 19 weeks in total for one school year, and each institution can decide how many weeks they play each semester. Morris said Occidental currently plays about five weeks in the fall season and 14–15 weeks in spring.

“What we do is go from the start of school ’til either late September or early October for our fall season,” Morris said. “The remaining time is in the spring, so they are out of season for now until they come back to school on Jan. 21.”

Looking forward to the spring season, Henderson said one of the potential challenges is time management between playing golf and schoolwork, as three of the five players on the women’s team are first years. Last semester, the teams had to compete in the SCIAC golf championships during the last two days of school, according to Henderson.

“Generally, a round of 18 holes takes five hours in college golf, and that’s just a lot of time,” Henderson said.

Morris said he does not have specific goals for the team in the spring season, but the expectation is for the players to reach their maximum potential. Women’s team member Anna Kim (sophomore) said although they had an undefeated fall season, the players felt they could still expect lower scores and better results come spring.