Despite high expectations, the GW golf team finished eighth out of 11 teams at the Atlantic 10 Tournament last weekend in Middletown, R.I., ending the Colonials’ hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore Brian Carroll led the Colonials, placing 11th out of 55 competitors at the tournament by shooting 225 over three rounds. Freshman Jack Tyler tied for 31st with a three-day score of 234, while sophomore Dan Mirabella shot 235 to finish tied for 33rd place.
With a victory, GW could have earned its first NCAA Tournament berth in program history. Coming off an excellent regular season in which they posted a 23-3 record against A-10 opponents, the Colonials had high hopes for the conference tournament.
“We knew we needed to win the A-10s to go to the NCAAs,” head coach Scott Allen said. “And although the NCAAs haven’t been a realistic goal for us in a long time, this year it has been; so that’s what we were shooting for when we started.”
The Colonials were in fifth place Friday after garnering a team score of 309, but they were knocked out of contention Saturday after shooting a tournament-low 321. Allen’s squad went on to shoot a solid 299 Sunday, finishing with a three-day total of 929. Rhode Island won the tourney, posting a score of 883, and Xavier and Richmond followed in second and third place with scores of 884 and 887, respectively.
Allen said coming into the tournament with such high expectations may have contributed to his team’s poor performance. The pressure to perform well, he added, was a significant factor in the Colonials’ meltdown on the second day of the tournament.
“We knew on the second day that we really needed to step up and play well, and the guys just got off to a bad start,” he said. “They made a couple of bad swings and missed some putts early, and then they could see each other struggling … they started to realize that we weren’t going to win. When that happened, the whole season just kind of came crashing down. It was a culmination of all the year’s goals coming to an end on that one afternoon.”
The team’s top seven players are all returning for next season, so the players can expect to be back in contention for the A-10 crown in the 2004-2005 campaign. Allen said the Colonials will try to use their performance in this year’s tourney as a learning tool.
“We had a good talk after the second round,” he said. “We talked about what we needed to do – how we needed to try to remember this bad feeling and use it as motivation in the future.”