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Players hope to carry form into SHU invite

<p>Freshman Taylor Clark finished tied for fifth place for Rutgers at the six-team Monterey Bay Invitational from March 16-18.</p>

Freshman Taylor Clark finished tied for fifth place for Rutgers at the six-team Monterey Bay Invitational from March 16-18.

This upcoming weekend at the Seton Hall Invitational, the Rutgers women’s golf team looks to end its spring regular season on a positive note before entering the AAC Championship from April 20-22.

The Scarlet Knights are coming off a solid performance in the Monterey Invitational from March 16-18 in California. The team placed third out of six teams, shooting a 329-320-321 for a combined score of 970, three strokes away from second place.

The Knights hope to build off one of their more impressive performances at Seton Hall’s golf course this weekend.

Sophomores Samantha Moyal, Gabrielle Sacheli and Christina Paulsen, along with freshmen Taylor Clark and Madelin Gedeon are the five who head coach Maura Ballard selected for the invite.

All are familiar faces from past tournaments this season with the exception of Paulsen, a transfer from Jacksonville University. This will be her first time to show her skill in a tournament for Rutgers.

The Knights will not have to travel far for the tourney, which can be seen as a helpful advantage. One reason being that Rutgers has become acclimated to the types of weather in New Jersey, while other teams in the invite are not.

“Since our team is already used to playing in the cool climate of New Jersey, hopefully that experience will help us remain focused and keep a positive attitude throughout the tournament,” Clark said.

Another reason is that the team expects fans at the tournament to support them, which can motivate the players to do their best.

But Ballard does not think it gives Rutgers a distinctive edge.

“Playing near home is a comfort as we will be sleeping in our own beds,” Ballard said. “I’m not sure if it will give us an edge because we will have a longer commute in the morning than the other teams, but it certainly won’t hurt us.”

Unlike any of Rutgers’ other tournaments this season, the invite is only two rounds long.

That means there will not be a third chance to make up for two poor or subpar rounds of play. The team has to come out strong and make a statement.

“It is crucial to start the first day off playing well,” Moyal said. “One way that we’d like to do that is by being aggressive with our shots.”

The golfers’ mindset and preparation will also be important to start the tournament strong.

“Getting off to a good start is important, however, as the tournament in Kiawah has taught me, being able to believe in my abilities and persevere is of equal importance,” Clark said.

Like every team, improvements and adjustments can be made each day and week in preparation, and that’s exactly what Rutgers has done.

“Our swings are honed and repeatable and that adds to our confidence,” Ballard said. “We have focused our recent practices on the short game, gaining feel around the greens with chipping and pitching.”

For updates on the Rutgers women’s golf team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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