by Tom Utescher
Last Wednesday, the Mount St. Joseph Academy golf team completed its undefeated frolic through the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies schedule.
On the nine-hole course at Flourtown Country Club, the Magic’s five official scorers complied a team tally of 214, easily overcoming the visiting Lions of Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, who scored a 302. Sacred Heart, the league school with the smallest enrollment, squared off against Mount St. Joe just this once, while the Mounties played home/away series against five other AACA teams, winning all these bouts for an 11-0 league record.
Catholic Academies member St. Basil does not field a golf team, so Mount St. Joe was able to schedule – and win – non-league contests against Downingtown Eat and Spring-Ford High School. This week the Magic will travel to Honeybrook Golf Club in Chester County in quest of their 15th consecutive AACA tournament championship.
The Mounties went into the 2017 campaign without three players who graduated from the 2016 squad that won the District 1 title and finished third at the PIAA State Championships.
Second-year Mount St. Joe coach John Mischler related, “Four new girls joined the team, and a number of underclassmen pulled a lot of weight to help make up for the players who graduated. The contributions were spread very nicely across the classes and different people stepped up in different matches.”
Mischler, who was joined on the coaching staff this fall by Jules Quinones (father of a current senior, Grace), explained, “Olivia Wirsching [a sophomore] and Clare Gimpel [a freshman out of Norwood Fontbonne Academy] were competing for low scores in almost every match. The threes, fours and fives were up in the air a lot, which showed the depth of talent we were fortunate enough to have.”
In the regular-season swansong at Flourtown last week, the Mount members of the first foursome to finish were juniors Brianna Mahon and Lia Priolo, who got the hosts off to a strong start with scores of 44 and 45, respectively. Next to arrive at the ninth green were the Mount’s young clubslingers. Wirsching shot a four-over 39, and Gimpel came in with a 42.
It was the Mount’s last home match, so the team’s four seniors rounded out the Magic’s eight-player contingent. Maya Trujillo, one of the co-captains, fired a 44 to complete the official score, and in the same foursome Grace Quinones turned in a 46.
The final foursome included Ciara Morrissey, with her 48, and the other co-captain, Olivia Brogan, who carded a 52. As usual, the opposing team would’ve been happy to have those individual scores which the Mount did not need to use in the team scoring. The closest match the Magic had in the league this fall was a bout against Villa Joseph Marie that the MSJ ensemble won by 25 strokes in the season opener.
Mischler said, “We have a lot of talent and potential, and now we have to realize that potential as we move into the postseason tournaments, where we’ll be seeing tougher courses and tougher competition. We’ve had good leadership and good team unity, and I think that will be a benefit for us.”