Prospect 4 shots behind Loyola in title pursuit
Prospect's score of 303 in the first round of the Class AA girls golf state finals was by far it lowest in four years at the Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur.
Only one team was lower on Friday.
With Loyola senior Isabelle Kane shooting a 4-under par 68, the Ramblers (299) owned a 4-stroke lead over second-place Prospect heading into Saturday's second and final round.
That is same deficit the Mid-Suburban League champions faced a year ago after one round. However, rain washed out the final day of action and New Trier won the 2012 meet 313-317.
"We are in the exact same position as last year," said Prospect coach Jim Hamann, whose team won the 2011 crown. "The girls are real fired up. And it looks like the weather will allow us to play this time."
The weather on Friday was windy and cold, but the Knights were 14 strokes better than their opening round a year ago.
Prospect counted scores from four seniors. Ally Scaccia and Kiley Walsh shot 74s and are in a four-way tie for sixth place individually. Noreen Caporusso (76) is tied for 15th and Emma Menich (79) is tied for 31st.
"We played very well all day," Hamann said. "We are really excited about the way we are hitting the ball.
"It was windy and cold. To shoot 303 at the state tourney in this weather is a phenomenal score. I'm really proud of what we did today. We played fantastic and these girls will be ready to go for tomorrow."
St. Viator senior Dana Gattone (75) is 7 strokes off the lead with four others in 10th place while Barrington freshman Reena Sulkar made a solid debut with a 76, good for a six-way tie for 15th.
Fremd senior Jennifer Kim is one of six players tied for 21st with 77s. Her classmate Dorothy Feng shot an 80.
Sulkar is one of three freshmen from the MSL playing in the state finals. BG freshman Lauren Guiao (81) and Barrington freshman Shivani Majmudar (96) are the others.
"Girls golf is only getting better," said Fremd coach Christine Vlaming addressing the talented MSL rookies. "We are definitely cheering for Prospect to take it all. Hopefully that happens. It will be exciting."
Things got exciting for Caporusso on hole No. 11, where she got her second eagle is as many meets.
Caporusso hit a 5-iron to within 7 feet on the par 5 No. 11 hole and sank the putt, one week after converting an eagle on the par 5, No. 9 hole at the Buffalo Grove sectional (at Buffalo Grove Golf Club).
"I think we've just got to putt a little better (today) and we will be OK," said Caporusso, an all-stater last year with a ninth-place finish. "We were all hitting the ball great, so that's awesome. We just have to fix a few little things.
"We very excited about (today). We are all fighting. We really want to win it bad. We'll see what happens."
The Knights happened to play Loyola in a dual meet during the first week of the season, setting their school record with a 291-310 win at the Mt. Prospect Golf Club.
"I knew Loyola would play well and they played a fantastic round (Friday)," Hamann said.
But Hamann felt his team played exceptionally well, too.
"Emma (Menich) shot a 9 on 5th hole and still shot a 79, hitting the ball better than I've seen her hit," Hamann said. "I can guarantee one thing: we'll give it everything we got for the final day."
Walsh's 36 on the front nine on Friday was the first time she has parred nine consecutive holes.
"I know a lot of us had putts that could have gone in," said the Illinois State-bound senior. "And we had a few more hiccups than usual. We've prepared too well for this and we'll try to avoid those (today)."
Walsh shot her 9-hole school record (32) in the early-season dual meet against Loyola. She said the Knights have plenty of respect for the Ramblers. Prospect topped Loyola 311-318 in the Buffalo Grove sectional on Monday.
"All six of us (junior Isabella Flack shot an 80 and classmate Kacie O'Donnell an 81) are playing for our team," Walsh said. "We give props to Loyola. That's a great score they shot (Friday) and Isabella (Kane) shot a great score."
Bradley-bound Scaccia also shot a school-record 69 against Loyola in the Aug. 20 meet.
"We are just really excited to get going (for the final round)," she said. "We're ready to fire low scores and see what happens.
"We don't think about beating the other teams. We are thinking of hitting every shot for each other -- like our saying, 'Together we roll,' and we all believe that."
Hamann believes his team will focus on its own game.
"We will take it one shot at time, with the most important being the next one," he said. "I think we'll put up another good score and then we'll see where we finish."
Fremd's Kim finished her round par-birdie-par.
"Jennifer had a great round," Vlaming said of her senior. "She left a few strokes out there with putts that she knows she can make (today).
"So hopefully that will work out well. She hit ball great and executed the game plan so that was neat to see. We are proud of Jennifer and excited to see what happens."
Barrington coach Jodi Schoeck is excited to see how Sulkar and Majmudar finish.
This marks the first time Schoeck has had two freshmen qualify as individuals in the state finals.
Sulkar, who parred her back nine (the course's front nine) began her round with a bogey.
"She didn't let that bogey get her down," Schoeck said. "It was a brilliant start for her first state tournament.
"She stayed focused on every shot and kept the cylinders running. To finish even on the front side was amazing."
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