Tuesday, September 5, 2017

UIS sports previews: Men’s, women’s golf looking to replace graduation losses

A LOOK AT THE WOMEN’S TEAM: The University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars qualified for a NCAA Super Regional the past two years. They tied for fifth at the 12-team Midwest Super Regional in May. In 2016, UIS placed 11th. The Stars hope to keep the program moving in the right direction. They’ll do it without Rochester native Jocelyn Matsen who graduated. She carried the team’s lowest scoring average of 78.76 strokes. Junior Maria Espinosa is one of several candidates to take over the team’s No. 1 spot. She won one tournament last year and tied for 14th out of 70 golfers at the GLVC championships. 

RISING STAR: Senior Brooke Hill hails from Canada. In July, she won the Saskatchewan Women’s Amateur Championship. She was eight strokes down heading into the back nine of the final round and forced a playoff. She shot a 71 on the final day.

COACH FRANK MARSAGLIA SAYS: “Maria was steady all last year. Taryn (Pittman) played pretty steady also. Brooke really played great last spring and she played really well this summer. Between Maria, Taryn and Brooke, we should have three young ladies with a scoring average below 80. We have a new player Ocean Pangan and her scoring average should be around 77 or lower. We’re going to be fairly deep. I think we’ll be as good as we were last year if not better.” 

SCOUTING THE MEN’S TEAM: The Stars have big shoes to fill with the graduation loss of All-Region golfer Talon Supak. He was the only UIS golfer to play in the NCAA Division II Championship and won a regional as junior. Supak shot an 8-under-par 64 in his final round at UIS. Sophomore Louis Bagur has the best scoring average of returning team members. He averaged 76 strokes and tied for ninth at the GLVC Championships as a freshman. Senior Erik Thulien returns with a 76.70 average.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT: Senior Mitch McCafferty. He fired a 68 at the Las Vegas Desert Classic in March. It was the second lowest round in UIS history.

MARSAGLIA SAYS: “Mitch is kind of a late bloomer. He’s just finally coming into his own. Louis is just a very, very good player. His ballstriking is probably the best we had on the team last year. He needed to work on some things over the summer and he did. We are looking for him to come back even stronger.”

This article appeared in The State Journal-Register on September 4, 2017.

Read the entire story online.