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Rutgers takes lessons, prepares to go into Big Ten

The Rutgers women’s golf team’s season came to a disappointing end Tuesday at the AAC Championship.

But the team has many things to look forward to next season, as every golfer on the team will be eligible to return for as the Scarlet Knights prepare to enter the Big Ten.

“We’ve learned a lot this year because [the golfers] are so young,” said head coach Maura Ballard. “We’ve had lots of learning experiences going into next fall. I saw a lot of good things from these young girls, and they absorbed a lot of information.”

The Knights struggled early on in the season with lackluster performances, finishing toward the back of the pack in the majority of their tournaments.

It was apparent that the Knights learned from those performances, improving vastly in the second half of the season throughout their last four tournaments, while placing mostly in the top half of the field.

Although Rutgers didn’t end the season on the positive note it had hoped, plenty of flashes were seen throughout the year, which only enthuses Ballard for next season.

“I am very excited to have everyone on this team back next year,” Ballard said. “We have all grown so much this year and the experience we’ve gained on the course will help us move to the next level.”

Freshmen Taylor Clark and Maddy Gedeon look to improve on their impressive rookie seasons, in which they competed for Rutgers in the majority of the tournaments. Clark competed in every tournament this season, while Gedeon competed in all but one.

That can only help the two prosper entering next season, as they have a full year of experience under their belt.

“I have worked really hard this season and although I had some rounds that were not my best, I have learned much about my game,” Clark said. “The experience that I have gained as a freshman was invaluable.”

Sophomore Samantha Moyal returns for her third season to keep building up her play and lead her fellow teammates, as do sophomores Christina Paulsen and Gabrielle Sacheli.

Sacheli competed in all tournaments this season, while Paulsen competed in two of the four tournaments in the spring, as she came in this semester as a transfer student.

Things won’t get easier for the Knights as they enter the competitive Big Ten. Ballard thinks that the team will need to make a major adjustment upon entrance into the league.

“It’s a very competitive conference,” Ballard said. “It’s going to take the program a few years to get ourselves prepared for.”

Moyal and Clark both look forward to the transition and increased competition.

“I am definitely looking forward to the [Big Ten] conference,” Clark said. “It is a strong conference both athletically and academically and is an amazing opportunity for our team.”

Moyal is hoping to piece together top-tier individual performances in Rutgers’ tournaments next season.

She plans to take what she has learned from this past season and try to transition it into next year.

“Next season, my number one goal is to have two top-five tournament finishes,” Moyal said.

Each player, for the most part, plans on competing individually in golfing events this summer to keep getting play and stay in form for the upcoming season.

Ballard expressed how proud of she was of the Knights’ performance this season.

“Each of these golfers is very dedicated — all work hard day in and day out, and give 100 percent,” Ballard said. “This season was a great experience. It could have been challenging because of their youth, but they were able to overcome it.”

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

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