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Apr 22, 2019 12:06 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton/Pierson Girls Golf Continues Torrid Run In League Play

Southampton's Caraline Oakley works on her putting prior to her team's match on April 11 against Ward Melville and Mount Sinai. DREW BUDD
Apr 23, 2019 4:33 PM

And the beat goes on ...

After starting its inaugural season undefeated in League IV play last season, the Southampton girls golf team, which was joined by a trio of Pierson student-athletes this season, has carried over its torrid start to this season, having won all seven of its matches thus far. Dating back to last season, the Lady Mariners are 19-0 in its League IV matches, and don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Other than a pair of 8-1 victories over Ward Melville and Mount Sinai on April 11 at its home course Bridgehampton Golf Club, Southampton has won all of its other matches by scores of 9-0, including over both Sachem and Longwood on April 16 at Middle Island Country Club. Sachem was the only other undefeated team in League IV coming into that match, so the Lady Mariners have a leg up and are looking set to repeat as league champions this season.

With five matches still be to played following this week’s spring break, starting with a dual-meet against Ward Melville and Riverhead at Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead on April 30, Southampton/Pierson head coach Kim Hannigan said she and her players aren’t putting the cart before the horse when it comes to talking about winning another league title.

“They were nervous on the bus when we went to play Sachem and Longwood,” she said. “Of course, the girls can go online and check any team’s record. So they went to the Section XI website and saw the records and saw Sachem was undefeated, and they were nervous. I had to tell them, ‘Just play your match. You’ll be fine. They’re undefeated, but so are you.’

“I think it’s a good thing to be nervous,” Hannigan continued. “When they go to counties, they’re going to feel those nerves, but they definitely felt relief after winning against Sachem and Longwood. They have a lot of respect for those teams and really all of the teams in our league. This year’s scores aren’t as wide between golfers as they were last season. Even though we’re winning a lot of these matches with 9-0 scores, it’s not like we’re blowing out anybody. They have work to do and there’s still a lot of improvement to be done and, depending on the course, there are a lot of variables in golf. You’re relying a lot on yourself, not relying so much on a teammate, so you have to bring it every single day. They’re not underestimating anybody.”

Southampton junior Caraline Oakley, who is the reigning individual county champion, has continued to lead the team this season. She’s either played even or two-over par on each course she’s played this season, Hannigan said. Southampton eighth-grader Ella Coady, who played as the team’s fourth player last season, has really stepped up her game in the past few matches, Hannigan said. So much so that she’s taken the second spot on the team, a spot that was covered last season by Kaitlyn Browne, who transferred to St. Anthony’s. Coady had her best round of the season with a six-over par in the win over Sachem and Longwood.

“Ella has improved with each match. I don’t want to jinx it with her only being an eighth-grader, but she still has a lot of room for growth,” Hannigan said.

Southampton’s other starters—Mia Wilutis, a junior, her sister Caroline Wilutis, a freshman, sophomore Kiera Gil, and freshman Haley Marcincuk—have all held their own this season, Hannigan said, to the point where many of the other girls on the team haven’t been able to crack the starting lineup. That includes Southampton eighth-grader Emma Kraszewski, seventh-grader Georgia Wilutis and Pierson sophomores Francesca Vitale and Eve Marsden and freshman Caroline Canavan.

Hannigan said that having the added depth this season—there are 11 players on the team compared to last year’s seven—has been nice, mainly to promote competition throughout the team. And of course, with six starting spots, having more than one player available in case one of the starters is not, helps

“All of the girls on the team have improved dramatically from last year,” Hannigan said. “The three new players that we’ve gotten from Pierson, they have so much potential that if they continue playing and being dedicated to the sport, we could see a lot from them in the future.

“With us doing really well, if those five or so players were on another team, they would be in their starting six. They’re that good,” she added. “Or if we had a JV team, they would be getting more regular playing time. But, right now, there is no JV girls golf.”

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