Salukis to use offseason for spring preparation

While the season hasn’t gone the way second-year coach Alexis Mihelich expected, the women’s golf team will use the offseason to improve for the spring season.

Two individual players took tournament titles while the team took one this season.

“We played pretty good,” she said. “I’m satisfied, but I am not necessarily happy.”

Mihelich said the team has to work on finishing an event.

“We played well in the middle of our events but didn’t open or close as well as I would have hoped,” she said.

Junior Cassie Rushing ended the season with an individual title Oct. 23 at the Blue Raider Invitational. It was her first title of the season, but she finished in the top three two other times. She ended with a 76.38 average, which is the same as last year’s fall total and the best stroke average of the team.

Rushing was also named Missouri Valley Conference scholar-athlete of the week Oct. 22-28 for her 3.625 GPA in sports administration.

Mihelich said she expects Rushing to play even better in the spring.

“If you have a strong No. 1, they can really carry your team, and I am hoping she steps up so she can help us advance us as a team,” Mihelich said.

Rushing was followed by her sister, junior Ashleigh Rushing, who ended with a 77 average for the season.

Mihelich said the team will continue to practice a couple times a week until winter break when the athletes will practice on their own. She said she expects both Rushing sisters to improve during the break, but the team should also practice in different weather conditions.

Freshman Amy Lee took first place at the Sept. 25 SIUE Doubletree Intercollegiate tournament in Edwardsville. She was named MVC golfer of the week for her win that helped the Salukis take their first and only team win of the season.

Mihelich said the Blue Raider Invitational’s weather conditions affected Lee’s game as well as the team’s placement. She said the team will need to work on playing in difficult weather conditions to prepare for a spring season with fluctuating temperatures.

“(Lee) needs to be more resilient in weather conditions,” she said. “She is from southern California, and the weather is a lot different there than in the Midwest, so she is going to have to learn to play in different temperatures.”

The team will practice in the Diane Daugherty Golf Facility at the Hickory Ridge Golf Course during the winter months. The garage doors of the indoor heated building can be opened to function as a driving range.

Aside from hitting on the range, Mihelich said the team can improve its putting.

“We need to keep practicing and making sure every shot counts,” she said.

The Salukis will return for the spring season March 11 at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nev.

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