The Reporter/Times Herald/Montgomery Media area schools are back on the golf course for the 2021 season.
After most teams played shortened schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic last fall, they are looking forward to a full slate of matches over the next two months.
In the Suburban One League Colonial Division, North Penn brings back a majority of its team from last season after going 5-5. Pennridge looks to rebuild after finishing 7-3 and losing a strong senior class.
Springfield Montco, the defending SOL Freedom champs, bring back a few players, including junior Mollie Young, who competed at the state level in 2020. Lower Moreland has a young team this year and set its sights on finishing over .500.
Pope John Paul II returns to PAC play after a four-match non-league schedule in 2020. The Golden Panthers, who won all four matches a year ago, return six varsity players, led by senior captains Paul Brady and Alex White.
In the Philadelphia Catholic League, La Salle and Archbishop Wood are both coming off strong seasons. The Explorers won the District 12 title while the Vikings finished 5-2. Each school has four key returners primed to lead the way this fall.
Mount St. Joseph Academy is looking for its 20th straight Athletic Association of Catholic Academies championship. The Magic, who went 12-0 last year, return four-year varsity players and team captains Caroline Gola and Nora Blatney.
Team-by-team breakdowns are below.
Head coach: Bob Schmalbach (39th year)
Last year: 5-2
Notable losses: John Donahue
Key returners: Chaela Barnett, Lola Barnett, Mike Knouse, Tim Newman
Season outlook: “I'm cautiously optimistic, with four experienced returners we will be competitive and if I can find two to four positive contributors we can be very good.”
Head coach: Marty Jackson (31st year)
Last year: 15-1, District 12 champs
Notable losses: August Blatney, Mario Ventresca, Patrick Meko, Connor Cunningham, Corey Haydu
Key returners: Darren Nolan, Luke Corcoran, Tyler Leyden, Scott Hughes
Season outlook: “We have a deep and talented team that needs to grow together, compete and learn to be mentally tough!”
Head coach: Mike Guido (3rd year)
Notable losses: Bryce Fazio
Key returners: Noah Archibald, Matt Dymoski, Matt Stolarski
Season outlook: “We have a very young team with only one senior. The goal is to finish .500 or better and qualify two students for SOL championship.”
Mount St. Joseph Academy
Head coach: John Mischler (7th year)
Last year: 12-0, 12-0 AACA, 19th straight AACA championship
Notable losses: Clare Gimpel, Sofia Gambone, Reilly Kelley, Gwen DeLeo
Key returners: Caroline Gola, Nora Blatney, Alle Petkunas, Lauren Quirk, Gabi Courtney, Emma McGrath
Season outlook: “We are optimistic going into this season with our sights set on winning our AACA League and progressing through the PIAA District I Tournament to be able to play once again at the PIAA States Tournament. Our confidence comes from knowing we have talented captains to lead our team along with a strong core of players returning for this season.”
Head coach: Dominic Frassinelli (4th year)
Last year: 5-5, 5-5 SOL Continental
Notable losses: Dom Della Penna
Key returners: Connor Toussaint, Hayley Ekert, Justin Pileggi, Chris LaRosa, Quinn Marett, Ethan Beck, Camryn Lampitoc, Josh Kim, Ethan Beck, Logan Wrigley, Ryan Guinaldo
Season outlook: “We have a ton of returning veteran players that are eager to compete. They have played in a lot of tournaments with great success including top finishes and wins this summer. We're looking to improve our record and have success in the league tournament and district tournament for both male and female players.”
Head coach: Steve Yurchak (5th year)
Last year: 9-3, 7-3 SOL Continental
Notable losses: Brendan Bauer, Ashley Ea, Connor Frisch, Jack Lenox, Blake Stewart
Key returners: Brock Denlinger, Jeff Seiler, Taryn Shine
Others to watch: Ethan Maltby, Matt Seiler, Matt Kriney, Trey McGuire, Tyler Parry
Outlook: "We lost a great group of seniors to graduation that had been key members of the team for four years and they will all be missed. They absolutely helped turn the program around. This season, we will need our younger players to step up and we believe they will. We have a lot of good, young players that are only going to get better."
Pope John Paul II
Head coach: Mike Thompson (4th year)
Last year: 4-0
Notable losses: Tyler Burton, Bethany Julius, Ryan Teefy
Key returners: Paul Brady, Jack Brennan, Aidan Canning, Adam Profrock, Nick Togno, Alex White
Season outlook: “Pope John Paul II looks forward to competing for a Pioneer Athletic Conference championship this year after playing a shortened, non-league schedule last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team comes into the year returning six varsity players from last year’s team, including Sr. captains Paul Brady (1st Team All PAC – 2019) and Alex White (All PAC Honorable Mention – 2019).”
Head coach: Thomas Vizza (10th year)
Last year: Tied 1st SOL Freedom
Notable losses: Finn Coll, Liam Coll, Austin Maggioncalda
Key returners: Ethan Shore, Adam Fluehr, Mollie Young, Charlie Price
Season outlook: “We graduated three seniors last year who were all first-team division honors winners and that is a hole we need to fill. We had some promising young talent in the form of Ethan Shore and Adam Fluehr last year who will return as sophomores. We are expecting them to have above average developmental years this year. Adam is a very natural athlete and acquires new skills quickly in all of his three sports that he plays. Ethan has great mechanics in his full swing but also instinctual touch in his short game. Both of these players will thrive with just gaining experience. We are lucky to have Mollie Young back for her junior year whose play last year took her all the way to state level competition. She anchors us with some experience going into her third year and has great potential. Charlie Price is back as our only senior. He is a solid contributor. We are looking forward to seeing what incoming freshmen can do to help us as well.”