The University of Richmond’s women’s golf team claimed its second consecutive team title at the 2017 Patriot League Women’s Golf Championship last week.
The tournament took place over two days at Lehigh University's Saucon Valley Country Club Grace Course. Of the eight players on the team, six traveled to the championship.
UR plays in the Patriot League which is made up of UR and five other teams: Boston University, Lehigh, Navy, Bucknell and Holy Cross.
Last year, the team won its first title, going on to become back-to-back champions this year. It came down to Richmond and Boston University for the title, but UR won by two strokes.
Richmond coach, Ali Wright, has been at UR for three years and coached for another university eight years before that.
Wright said they she knew if it came down to the end that the team could pull it off.
“They have the mentality of winning.” she said, “It’s what they do.”
Prior to winning the conference championship, the team had not won a golf match this year. Wright said that when winning mattered the most, the team came through.
Almost every player on the team has shot a career best this year.
“Winning the championship back to back was one of those experiences that you dream of for a long time and when it actually happens you can’t believe.” Elsa Diaz, WC ‘18, said.
She said the team starts to perform a little bit better when they’re behind and that’s how they could come back and win after Boston University got ahead.
Marie Donnici, WC ‘18, said that the main reason she transferred to UR for golf was because of Wright.
“She really sets the tone for our team.” she said, “She creates a positive but competitive atmosphere. She is a mentor to all of us both on and off the golf course.”
Donnici said that when she was under a lot of pressure during the final holes, Wright helped to keep her calm by cracking a few jokes, but also reminding her to stay focused on her goals and take a deep breath.
Wright said the team will find out which location they play at in the NCAA tournament on Thursday. There are five different locations and the announcement will be made on the golf channel.
At the tournament, 18 teams will play and the top eight will move on to the final tournament.
Diaz said that to prepare for regionals the team is focusing on finishing strong with its school work.
“Coach always has a plan for how we should prepare for the next tournament, which includes rest and making sure our academics are in check,” Diaz said.
Diaz said she feels more confident going to regionals this year because they were there last year and got to experience it.
“Playing for her [Wright] is really an honor, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with her again next year," Donnici said.
Contact writer Sarah Raymond at firstname.lastname@example.org