by Tom Utescher
On two consecutive days last week, Mount St. Joseph Academy wrapped up another championship season of golf in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.
On Tuesday the Magic played their final home match at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, knocking off Merion Mercy, 222-255, to complete a 12-0 run through the league’s regular season. The seven teams play a double round; the eighth league member, St. Basil Academy, does not field a golf team.
A day later at Honeybrook Golf Club, out past Morgantown, Mount St. Joe cruised to victory in the AACA championship tournament, turning in its best team score this fall to outdistance the closest competitor, Villa Maria, 196-222. The Mounties have won the league tourney every year since it was introduced in 2003, making this their 11th straight title.
The Magic’s only losses this fall have come outside of the league in a pair of encounters with defending state champion Radnor High School. While the Catholic Academies League (as well as the Girls Inter-Ac and other leagues) follows a play-eight, count-five format to arrive at team scores, both matches against the Red Raiders were scored using just the four best rounds for each school. That is the structure employed for the PIAA district, regional, and state playoffs.
The first meeting took place at par-35 Talamore Country Club, where in a tri-match hosted by Hatboro Horsham High School, Radnor put up a score of 155 while the Magic were a stroke back at 156 and the Hatters scored a 201. At another par-35 venue, Radnor Valley Country Club, the host Raiders separated themselves a little more from the Mounties, winning 157-163. In the individual results, MSJ’s junior star, Isabella DeLisio, defeated Radnor sophomore Brynn Walker by one stroke in each of the two matches.
Last Tuesday’s regular-season finale was also the Mount’s 2013 Senior Day, as the team bid farewell to team captain Alison Snakard and classmates Emma Feeney and Julia Shinkle. The school president, Kathleen Brabson, SSJ, addressed the team at the first tee, and then the Mounties headed out.
While not recording some of their best rounds, the Magic still won comfortably over Merion, which only brought the required minimum of five golfers to the match and thus had to include every player’s score in the team tally.
DiLisio, the defending champion in PIAA District 1, led the team with a score of 40, and Snakard was just two strokes behind. They were part of the only actual foursome in the match, and within this quartet the visiting Golden Bears had seniors Meg Donahue and Kathryn Natale record a 47 and a 48, respectively.
As other groups came in (three threesomes), the Mount marked down a 45 for sophomore Joanie Gannon and a 46 for junior Maggie Schoeller. Shinkle and sophomore Megan Bray each finished the circuit in 49 strokes, and one of these rounds was used to complete the team score. Feeney, one of the seniors, and sophomore Claire Brown also played in the match.
Merion arrived at its final total with a 49 from junior Domie Marchese, a 55 from sophomore Katie Derewicz, and a 56 from senior Sarah Byrnes.
On Wednesday, it was off to the country for the league tourney, staged at par-35 Honeybrook. Snakard had won the 2012 tourney at the same venue, but this time around all of the Mounties were in for a surprise, as top individual honors went to a Villa Maria junior, Cara Basso. She carded a three-under 32, and MSJ’s DiLisio was one stroke back at 33.
Snakard and Schoeller each came in at 39, and Bray arrived at the clubhouse with a 41. Feeney and Gannon each shot a 44, and one of those rounds was figured into the impressive team score registered by the longtime champs. Shinkle and freshman Alex Natale played in the tourney, as well, scoring a 49 and a 45, respectively.
This week the Magic were slated to play at the District 1 tourney out at Gilbertsville Golf Club, where DiLisio was looking to repeat as individual champion and the Mount was in quest of the district team title it last won in 2009.