Waynesburg golf teams start 2019-20 seasons

As the air gets crisper and fall approaches, it means it’s almost golf season.  

Both the Waynesburg University men’s and women’s golf teams have high hopes for the 2019 season, and look to improve on last year’s campaigns, when they finished sixth and fifth respectively in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

The  men’s team made some changes this summer, with former head coach Sam Jones moving into an assistant position, and Mike Cipoletti taking over as head coach. 

“For me, this season is going to be about getting to know the guys, and trying to learn about their games,” Cipoletti said. 

Cipoletti made it clear that the Jackets have high expectations, but they can only reach their goals by having each individual golfer improve his game. 

“Golf is an individual game, but we want the team to improve from last year’s finish at PACs. If all of our guys can improve by four to eight strokes, we will be a lot better,” he said.  

Cipoletti has introduced some new methods into the team’s practices to try and make improvements to the team’s game. 

Players now track their own statistics at practice, which in turn allows them to see what their putt percentages are from specific distances, and their accuracy with specific clubs.

Another key to the team’s improvement will be through the work of new assistant coach Dave Mariner. He is focused on improving the team’s swing and the mechanics of the golfers’ swings.

As a freshman, Luke Diel was the team’s top golfer last year, and the Jackets expect him to continue his strong play as a sophomore.

On the women’s side, which Jones is still the head coach of, he is hoping to help the team take strides forward from last season.

“We just want to improve on how we placed at PACs last year. We have a few new girls we are excited about that will help us do that,” Jones said. 

New members of the Lady Jackets include Amanda Bruni, Allie Delaney and Zoie Smith. 

“The returning members of the team have done a good job of welcoming them, so it seems like the team atmosphere is pretty good,” he said. 

The additions are expected to bolster the team, but returner Deanna Nagel, who was the team’s top golfer last year, will still be a key player in the Jackets’ run for PAC success. Jones said that last year, putting was a major weakness for the team.

“We just want to become better putters this year,” said Jones. 

The field at PAC’s has gotten bigger, as a few schools added women’s golf teams, but Jones believes the additional competition won’t hurt the Jackets’ chances of improving within the conference.

“We didn’t place well last year, but this year we expect to be a lot better,” he said. 

After finishing last in the PAC last season, the women expect a much stronger showing.

Both of the golf programs at Waynesburg are on the upswing. The women and men will begin their seasons tomorrow, Sept. 6 at 11:30 a.m when they take on Carlow University in a non-conference, head-to-head match. The teams will play at Carlow’s home course, Youghiogheny Country Club in McKeesport.