Culmination of their careers
Quakers’ experience could carry team to Ivy League title this weekend
April 23, 2010, 3:00 am · Updated April 23, 2010, 12:00 am·
Penn’s 10-year-old women’s golf program may be the second youngest in the Ivies, but it may also be the most experienced.
Coach Mark Anderson is only in his second year but the Quakers, thanks to senior trio Meredith Kotowski, Lisette Vitter and Catherine Elliott, have the most fourth years in their top five.
That experience should help the Red and Blue as they travel this weekend to the Baltusrol Golf Club in northern New Jersey to compete in the Ivy League Championships.
According to Anderson, Penn has a chance at bringing home the coveted trophy for the first time in program history.
In the past five years, the team hasn’t placed better than fourth at Ivies, but Anderson thinks his golfers have a real chance to take top honors.
In just one year, the team has jumped from a national ranking of 179 to 108, reflecting a season full of top-three finishes in tournament play
In fact, the team has had more top finishes this season than in its entire history, and for the first time in at least five years, Penn took first place at a tournament.
For the last and most important meet of the season, the three seniors will be playing in the top three spots, while sophomore Tiffany Cheung and freshman Isabel Han will hit in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
The same five placed second in the Roar-EE Invitational last weekend, just ten strokes behind first-place Harvard.
Anderson thinks that his team’s high finish at the Roar-EE “help[ed] the girls realize how good they really are.”
“That was the first time we faced all the Ivy teams [in one invitational], and I think they really saw how they stand in relation to the other teams,” he said.
Additionally, Anderson said the years of collegiate golf experience, as well as experience at the Baltusrol course itself, will give his women an advantage.
“They’ve played in enough tournaments that they’ll be able to adapt to whatever the course presents.”
Each of the seniors have played in over 30 tournaments in the past four years, and this will mark their fourth trip to the Ivy League Championships.
This is the class of 2010’s last chance to accomplish something that it agrees has been a long time coming.
“It’s been just knowing we can shoot lower scores, and once one person did it, it just caused a momentum of good playing and that generated confidence,” Kotowski said.
That momentum started back in the fall, when it dawned on the veterans that they had the potential to make a real statement in the Ivy League.
“After the first or second tournament [in the fall], we realized that we could legitimately be in the hunt for winning the tournament,” Vitter said.
The addition of Han to the top-five finally made a championship possible as such a small team is only as good as its worst player.
“Any one of the five girls on our team is capable of winning Ivies,” Anderson said. “ I never know who’s going to step it up, they’ve all done it on different occasions.”
Vitter believes that knowledge, along with enthusiasm and “positive energy” from Anderson, “pushed us to work harder and concentrate, and never give up even if you’re having a bad round.”