Although the spring season has been far from a par for the course, the Sacred Heart women’s golf team finished off their 2021 campaign with a second-place result in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship from April 16 to April 18, according to Sacred Heart Athletics.
Five Pioneers represented Sacred Heart out in Fayetteville, Pa. where they shot a 947-total score. Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) scored a 907 total score to take first place while Merrimack University finished eleven strokes behind Sacred Heart to finish third, according to northeastconference.org.
“I think all in all we did a great job preparing,” said Coach Matt McGreevy. “We did fall a little short, but I was just happy that they got to be able to see what the conference championship was all about.”
In his sixteenth season as head coach, McGreevy brought a roster of nearly all underclassmen to the NEC Championship, with four out of the five golfers being sophomores or younger.
Among the Pioneers was freshman Margot Rouquette, who finished third overall at the NEC Championships with an 11 over par, according to shubigred.com.
“As a team it was obviously disappointing, because I think we were expecting better results for ourselves,” said Rouquette. “Personally, I tried to stay positive that third place as a freshman is something to be happy about.”
This season Rouquette earned the title of “NEC Golfer of the Week” three times and took first place at the FDU Invitational all while coming off a major shoulder surgery in Dec. 2020, according to Sacred Heart Athletics.
Rouquette was not alone as sophomore Chelsea Thakkar and sophomore Kailee Welch both placed in the top 10 for the NEC Championship.
“It was definitely more competitive for the championship,” said Welch. “It was a little nerve-wracking at the beginning, but I think we all got used to it by the second day.”
Welch started the weekend with a 6 over par in the first round but finished strong with two back-to-back 76’s to place her seventh overall in her first NEC Championship appearance.
“I feel like I had more confidence. I took each hole one at a time, and each shot one at a time,” said Welch. “I was very happy with how I played.”
Going into the fall of 2021, Sacred Heart will return nine out of 10 players from the roster while also expecting to bring in new recruits from the class of 2025.
“Talent is talent, and these girls have it. I think this core three right here (Rouquette, Welch and Thakkar), with their closeness and their ability to push each other is going to be able to do some really great things in the future,” said McGreevy.
Although the schedule is unclear for next season, the Pioneers will be spending the summer working on their game with a goal of being conference champions in the spring of 2021.
“I’m feeling very confident about the team next year because we have a really good team coming along,” said Thakkar. “I feel like having Margot and Kailee on the team this year really helped me and pushed me to work harder than I should.”