Sonoma State’s women’s golf team have their eyes set on making a run for the national title this season. The team is truly confident this year as returning players continue to push each other and strive for success. With the addition of two new members, the team looks to overcome their challenges alongside Head Coach, Val Verhunce, and Assistant Coach, Ellie McPherson.
The team had a great season last year, finishing 2nd in Division II of The California Collegiate Athletic Association.
“The team did pretty well last year but we had a lot of new players, four returners and eight freshman and transfers.” said Rio Smith, a Senior on the team. “We were lacking the depth and experience needed to really complete at the level we needed to.”
Smith goes on further to say, “This year with seven returning players and two new freshman, we’ve really been able to capture the team environment and competitive atmosphere that we’ve been missing.”
Smith has faith with the new additions of freshmen players, Megan DaLeo and Gabriella Lewis, who have both already qualified for traveling tournaments. As a student athlete, it’s often difficult to balance academics.
“As an Electrical Engineer and Bi Disciplinary Math major it’s been difficult to balance classes along with the golf schedule. But I love the challenge, I love competing, and I’m incredibly proud to call these women my teammates,” said Smith.
While the team’s roster and chemistry is promising, the Seawolves may continue to face obstacles.
“Last year we faced some challenges with losing players and not scoring as low as we would’ve liked too,” explained Junior Team Captain, Cristina Picariello. The team encountered several struggles last year, finishing 12th in their region.
Picariello is eager to win this season as she helped carry the Seawolves to 4th place with a T-11th place finish at The Western New Mexico University Intercollegiate on September 24th and 25th.
“The challenges this team faces is keeping the motivation and positive vibes going throughout the season,” Cristina said as her team looks to take first place at the Western Washington Invitational this week. “We started off strong in our first event so to keep that energy going until May will be huge. As a captain this year, I’m facing some new challenges. I want to keep my team focused and driven throughout the year and encourage us all to having a winning mentality.”
The team’s support for one another will take them far this season, Christina explained. “Out of the three years I’ve been here I would say this team works together the best. We are very similar and extremely supportive of one another which makes for a great practice environment. We already had our first event of the season where we placed 4th out of 19 teams and never put anyone down for not trying their best. I’m extremely lucky to be part of a team as well rounded and hardworking as this one.”
Already off to a good start this season, the Women’s Golf Team remains dedicated with strong direction from leaders including Team Captain, Cristina Picariello.
The team truly supports one another until the last day of the season as they remain determined to win the national championship.