Lady Pirates look to improve on last year's record

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville girls golf team (front row, left to right) Carlie Daniel, Rayghan Skoufos, and Hannah LeGrant. (second row, left to right) Elena Wirths, Makenna Campbell, Katelyn Smith, head coach Rob VanderLinden, Zoey Lang, Leah Ziegelbein, and Alexis Schnetzler.

The Boonville Lady Pirates golf team will have plenty of incentive to improve on last year’s record after finishing 11-3-1 overall and fourth in the Tri-County Conference Tournament.

With nine golfers suited out for the 2021 season in what is the eighth year for girls golf, head coach Rob VanderLinden said his goal is to win every match and win the conference tournament. Boonville returns four out of five starters from last year. “We have a lot of very good golfers in the conference so it will depend on if we continue to have a good attitude and improve all parts of our game,” VanderLinden said. “The key is going to be improving day to day and don’t be complacent.”

The Lady Pirates will have plenty of chances to improve with five home matches and six away meets. Boonville will also host two tournaments this fall with a three par tournament on August 27 and the Boonville Tournament on September 14.

The Lady Pirates will also have plenty of experience this season with four starters and five returning letterwinners. VanderLinden said experience will be a strength.

“All the girls know what to expect when it comes to the courses we play and the tournaments we play in,” VanderLinden said. “They’ve all had a great attitude so far and are putting in the work to get better. Our biggest weakness is going to be our short game. Everyone of the girls needs to put extra time in chipping and putting. For us to reach our goals, we have to get better around the greens. That’s the fastest way to improve our scores.”

Although the goals haven’t changed since last year, VanderLinden said he would like to see the Lady Pirates make it to state as a team. He said the Lady Pirates will find out a lot on August 27 when they compete against 10 other schools on their home course.

VanderLinden added that Boonville doesn’t really have a motto this season but agreed to be in a TikTok video if the girls make it to state as a team.

With two qualifiers still remaining to determine positioning, VanderLinden said last year’s order consisted of Zoey Lang, Hannah LeGrant, Rayghan Skoufos and Carlie Daniel.

VanderLinden said Lang was the most consistent player all of last year. While playing in the No. 1 or 2 spot each match or tournament, he said so far Lang has dropped her score by three strokes in the qualifiers. “Zoey was an all-conference player and a state qualifier last year,” VanderLinden said. “Last year her average was 45.2, so we’re looking for her to improve on that this season.”

LeGrant also returns after splitting time with Lang at the No. 1 and 2 positions. VanderLinden said LeGrant, a state qualifier last year, is bettering her score by four so far in qualifiers. LeGrant averaged a score of 48.1 per nine holes last fall.

As for Skoufos, who is the only senior on the team this season, she averaged a score of 50.6 per nine holes as the No. 4 golfer on the team in 2020. VanderLinden said Skoufos is becoming more consistent the more she plays.

Rounding out the returning players this season is sophomore Carlie Daniel. While playing one spot behind Skoufos at the No. 5 position, Daniel finished with a averaged nine hole score of 51.8 last fall. VanderLinden said Daniel has improved her average by five strokes from last year’s average.

VanderLinden will also look to juniors Leah Ziegelbein and Makenna Campbell to step up their game this season. Ziegelbein, the No. 1 JV player last year, was able to get some varsity experience throughout the season in 2020. VanderLinden said Ziegelbein has made the biggest improvement in her game since last year while averaging six strokes better than last year’s average of 52.7.

As for Campbell, VanderLinden said she is a player who has improved her game each year she as played while finishing with a scoring average of 61 last year.

Other golfers who look to improve on their game this season are juniors Alexis Schnetzler and Katelyn Smith and freshman Elena Wirths. VanderLinden said Schnetzler is another player that has improved every year she has participated. Schnetzler finished with a scoring average of 62  last year. As for Smith, VanderLinden said she is playing golf for the first year and has become a fast learner and is working hard to catch up with the more experienced players. He said Wirths has been part of the youth program and is doing well. “Elena is learning a lot from the older players and works hard during practice,” VanderLinden said.