Source: The Observer/Eccentric
Author: Dan O'Meara
A championship was not to be for the Farmington Hills Mercy golfers, but the Marlins still finished as one of the best teams in the state.
Mercy was sixth among 15 teams in the girls Division 1 tournament, posting a two-day score of 690 at Bedford Valley Golf Course in Battle Creek.
East Kentwood won the team title by 22 strokes over Lake Orion, 643-665. Dearborn (671), Novi (675) and Davison (682) placed ahead of the Marlins.
“After not going (to the state meet) last year, that was a good improvement,” Mercy coach Vicky Kowalski said.
“We shot our normal scores. We had 346 and 344 and that’s pretty much the average for us. We just didn’t shoot the outstanding scores we sometimes had this year like 335.
“The way East Kentwood played, nobody was going to beat them. I think that was the best score they shot all year, especially on a tougher course.
“We knew Lake Orion was a strong team. Dearborn short really well; so did Novi. I think, if we had played our best golf, we would have finished third or fourth.”
The Mercy girls were steady and consistent, according to Kowalski. Senior Erica Heath led the way with a 167 total, shooting 84 and 83 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Junior Julia Shaw shot 85 both days for a 170; senior Caroline Bland scored 177 (90-87) and junior Lilly Blake 179 (87-92). Senior Amy Vlachos shot 94 Friday, junior Kendyl Kirkland 89 Saturday.
“They, basically, shot their season averages,” Kowalski said. “Over the course of the season, everybody had their really great day. We needed three people to have great days for two days, and that just didn’t happen.”
The Marlins were in seventh place at the end of the round Friday. They passed Ann Arbor Pioneer on Saturday to move up one spot.
“I told the girls, ‘You’re flying under the radar. Nobody is going to be paying attention to us back here,’” Kowalski said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t come through a little better.
“We were two strokes better the second day; we were very steady. Nobody had a really bad hole. It was mostly bogeys and pars with a few birdies here and there.
“We would have liked to have somebody in the top 10. It makes it kind of hard to make all-state if you’re not in the top 10.”
Kowalski added Vlachos had shot 82 and 88 in the two previous tournaments and had earned the right to play.
“We were trying to catch lightning in a bottle the first day,” she said. “When it’s that close, you let the senior have an opportunity to play.
“Seven of the 15 teams used two different golfers in one of the (five) spots. A lot of teams go six deep now.”
Shaw, Blake and Kirkland give the Marlins, who won Catholic League and regional championships, a good nucleus around which to build their 2015 team.
“A lot of girls already are looking forward to next year,” Kowalski said. “They know the things they want to work on over the winter and summer.
“Lilly was a real nice surprise this year. She spent two years on jayvee and was a really strong player for us.
“She was our third best at the regional and the first day of the state finals. She was second overall in the Birmingham tournament with 78.
“She has really come on strong. I think she’s going to be a real strong No. 2 for us next year.”