RU reflects on year-long performance

The Rutgers women’s golf team closed the spring season in Florida — the same state where it made its weather-shortened debut.

After placing eighth at the Big East Championship on Tuesday, the Scarlet Knights returned home that evening with the season behind them.

Rutgers’ roster consisted of five freshmen and two seniors, a group that required development and the time to gather cohesion on and off the course.

“This was my most unique roster, given the age differences,” said head coach Maura Ballard. “Having so many freshmen was fun and challenging for us. It kept me on my toes. I had to be engaged every moment to make sure the proper message was being received.”

Ballard completed her 21st season as the caretaker of the Knights and credited seniors Brittany Weddell and Karen Cash for their impact. She believed they assisted in grooming the rookies and were great role models.

The best outing for Rutgers came April 15, when it tied for sixth at the Brown Bear Invitational with a team score of 640. Weddell finished with a team-best fifth place finish after shooting a 150 in the 84-player pact.

She was also the Knights’ catalyst in the previous outing. The Buzzards Bay, Mass., native paced Rutgers at the Hoya Invitational on April 9 after carding a 232 and sharing 15th place individually.

Cash got off to an impressive start to open the spring season March 22 at the condensed Cincinnati Spring Invitational.

She led the way after the opening round of competition, but finished tied for 36th after lightning and inclement weather forced the final round to be canceled.

Following the conclusion of the Big East Championship, Cash took time to reflect on her career and admitted that she was content with everything that transpired over the course of her three seasons.

“It was a great honor to play for Rutgers,” said Cash, who transferred from East Stroudsburg following her rookie campaign. “It was definitely one of the best decisions of my life. I am grateful to have been able to play for the Scarlet Knights. I am going to miss it.”

Rutgers was attentive and accepted the challenge of improving and working hard to build the program. Ballard saw the Knights put in a lot of effort during competition and in practice sessions to win a tournament title.

With another season in the books, the Knights turn their attention to coming back even stronger in the fall. Ballard said Rutgers possesses an abundance of potential.

The goal is for the Knights to reach their pinnacle and bring the program to new heights.

“I am excited about next year,” Ballard said. “The young women are bright, energetic and driven. They have embraced my coaching philosophy, ‘Vision 54.’ I am sure we will have a very successful 2013-14.”

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