Piscataway, N.J. (Feb. 16, 2014) – Embarking on its final season in the American Athletic Conference, Rutgers women’s golf prepares for an important spring campaign. Consisting of six sophomores and two freshmen, the young team hopes to build on the early success in their careers and set a solid foundation for the program.
“It is exciting that they are all playing at a reasonably good level and they are so young,” Head Coach Maura Ballard said.
“We have [at least] two and a half more years for each one of them, in which they can grow. To show that they are all doing this well so early in their careers holds well for the next couple of years with this group.”
As the team transitions into the Big Ten Conference, Rutgers will rely on the strength and consistency of this young squad. The close relationship between the talent across the roster stands as a strong attribute of the team. In the fall, the scoring averages ranged tightly between 79 and 81, proving that every member can be a factor in competition.
“It is important to know that we have several people that are capable of contributing in competition as the top five for us. It does build a lot of natural competitiveness on the team, which makes all of them work a little bit harder because they are each working to earn positions on the team. That works out really well for us,” Coach Ballard explained.
“It shows the potential for growth too. Many of them are capable of breaking through and shooting into the mid-70s on a regular basis. That is going to happen on any given day to any one of them. I think that is something that we can look for from this group too.”
In order to maintain growth and consistency, the team has been concentrating on eliminating any external factors that could affect their play. Off-season training has focused on various aspects of the mental game, specifically in the areas of emotional resilience and positive self-talk.
“One of our main things is to just focus on staying in the moment. When you are on the course you have a lot of time to think,” sophomore Racquel Zurick (West Trenton, N.J.) explained.
“It is important not to focus on a past shot because you can’t change those things and not to focus on the future because you can’t change what the ending score is either.”
With this mentality, the Scarlet Knights will be able to play to their highest potential. An additional attribute to this team is the tight bond that the players share. The support from each other has helped the group remain driven.
“If someone is having a bad day, people are ready to push it forward and to encourage everyone to be the best that they can be. One of the great things is that we do mesh well together. We encourage each other to do well and to keep pushing,” said Zurick.
By having each other to lean on, the group can achieve their biggest goals. It is also important that each member shares a common focus in regards to the team’s anticipated accomplishments.
“We all know that we are focusing on the same goal of being able to not only better ourselves, but to better our team in order to create the foundation for the future and to make the program even better as a Big Ten team.”
The young squad is ready to embrace the season as they strive for success in all areas of the game. By maintaining consistency in shooting, focusing on emotional resilience and preserving team support, the Scarlet Knights are set to construct a solid base for the program this season and for seasons to come.
Rutgers begins its spring campaign at the Michigan State District Invitational on Feb. 17-18 in Bradenton, Fla. The team will then travel to Kiawah Island, S.C. for the Kiawah Spring Invitational. After the Monterey Invitational in Monterey, Calif., the squad will head to Bedminster, N.J. for the Seton Hall Pirate Invitational. The Scarlet Knights wrap up the season at the AAC Championship in Palm Coast, Fla. on Apr. 20 -22.