In what has been an up-and-down season, it is only right for it to have an up-and-down ending. Play for the young squad has been inconsistent, with only one upperclassman. That upperclassman is the talented Hee Ying Loy (Johor, Malaysia).
However, long time head coach Stefanie Shelton has proved her ability to bring out high level performances from her team in the postseason. The Bucs have some rust to shake off before then.
In the Anuenue Spring Break Classic, ETSU went up against many talented teams. Perhaps it was the long travel time, a flight to Hawaii is almost a 10 hour trip, that affected the squad’s performance. The team stumbled out the gate with a tough first day.
The entire squad tallied at least one birdie, yet the team finished the day with a score of 22 over par. Loy was only 1 over par coming into the final two holes, but finished 4 over and 21st place overall. One stat that perhaps tells the impact of the back nine: the top four performers for the Bucs went a combined 5 over par on the front nine and then proceeded to go 17 over par on the back nine.
ETSU finished the first day placing 12th out of 13 teams.
The second day mirrored the first. A hot start elevated the team to 7th place in the team standings, but the back nine gave them as many problems as the previous day, and the team dropped back into 12th at the end of the day.
Competing in tough matches against good teams builds toughness for the postseason. The Anuenue Spring Break Classic pitted ETSU against entirely out-of-conference opponents.
Against Southern Conference rivals, ETSU performs much better. In the Kiawah Island Spring Classic earlier this year, the Bucs beat Western Carolina and Samford handily, but were beat out slightly by UNC-Greensboro.
There is one more meet before the beginning of the SoCon championships. That means it is just a few more weeks before this young squad has the chance to prove that midseason struggles lead to postseason success.
The biggest obstacles in the way of a team championship, a feat ETSU has not accomplished since 2014, is UNC-Greensboro and Furman. ETSU lost to UNC-Greensboro in the Kiawah Island Spring Classic and have yet to face Furman.
Furman is a very experienced team with their top five performers all placing in the top six in the SoCon, but Loy still holds the No. 1 spot and looks to make a repeat appearance in the NCAA championships.