Indiana women’s golf teed off the second half of its season Monday at Big Ten Match Play Championships in Innisbrook, Florida. Indiana lost 5-1 to Purdue and 4-2 to Rutgers on Monday and finished play Tuesday with a 3-3 tie against Iowa.
“I’m really excited and proud with what I saw the past two days,” interim head coach Emily Kuhfeld said. “Those were tough, competitive matchups and that kind of experience is going to help us down the stretch this year.”
Sophomore Alexis Miestowski had the sole victory for the Hoosiers against the Boilermakers, defeating junior Sifat Sagoo 2 and 1, meaning she held a two-stroke lead with only one hole left. Senior Mary Parsons lost her match to senior Thitapa Pakdeesettakul by just one stroke.
In Indiana’s second match of the day against Rutgers, junior Valerie Clancy and freshman Aine Donegan both went up 3 strokes through 15 holes and ultimately won their matches against Rutgers junior Leigha Devine and sophomore Rikke Nordvik, respectively.
Parsons and Indiana freshman Margaret Fernandez both trailed by one stroke, while Miestowski trailed by two in their matches against Rutgers. Through 14 holes, play was suspended due to lack of daylight and was not resumed Tuesday, ending any chance of an Indiana comeback.
"I am proud of the fight this team showed in the morning matches," Kuhfeld said in an Indiana Athletics press release. "It was great to have Alexis back in the lineup, and her energy is huge for this group. In the second round, we were right there with momentum going our way, and unfortunately ran out of daylight.”
Kuhfeld said she had never seen something like the situation that occurred against Rutgers in her 30 years of golf experience, noting that teams have always been allowed to finish play the following day. Though disappointed, Kuhfeld put a positive spin on the result and told her players to always get out front as much as possible.
Indiana finished play Tuesday against Iowa, squaring off in the ninth-place match. The Hoosiers fought to the final hole, finishing in a 3-3 tie.
Clancy won 2 and 1 in her matchup against Hawkeye freshman Paula Miranda. Fernandez and Donegan, the other two Hoosiers to win their matchups, defeated seniors Manuela Lizarazu and Dana Lerner by one stroke each. Senior Maddie Dittoe, the sixth player competing for the Hoosiers came up one stroke short against junior Lea Zeitler.
"I am proud of the girls for their fight today," Kuhfeld said in another Indiana Athletics release. "The team gained valuable experience being tested down the stretch, and we have a lot of valuable keys to take home with us."
Kuhfeld had high praise for each of her players. She said Clancy’s work ethic and great attitude coming back was a focal point for the team at the event. Additionally, Kuhheld commended Parsons and Miestowski for their toughness coming back from injuries recently as well as their leadership. Finally, she acknowledged the importance of Fernandez’s win in the Iowa matchup, as it was a great boost of confidence for herself as a player and the team.
The Big Ten Match Play Championships were the first matches for Indiana since Oct. 12, when its fall season concluded. Kuhfeld made her Indiana coaching debut, taking over after long-time coach Clint Wallman who resigned in December.
The Hoosiers have another month off from action. They’ll next take the course March 5-6 in Gainesville, Florida, to compete in the Vystar Gators Invitational.