The Fall golf season is underway for Waynesburg University. The men’s and women’s golf teams competed in their first matches of the season against Geneva College at Connoquenessing Country Club on Tuesday. The men’s team, led by freshman Matthew Karpeal, just barely fell 331-332, and the women’s team, led by sophomore Audrey Abatti, lost 384-453.
Despite the losses, head coach Mike Cipoletti, who coaches both teams, was impressed with how they played, particularly the freshmen calling it a “freshman invasion.”
“We’re trying to build,” Cipolleti said. “This is the momentum we’re trying to build for the program to get three or four talented freshmen every year and just make the bench deeper and push the people that are here to be better.”
Karpeal finished first overall in the men’s match with a score of 74, four over par, and fellow Waynesburg freshman Hudson Pinovich finished third overall with a score of 80. Senior’s Carter Newcome and Briston Bennett finished tied for seventh and ninth with scores of 87 and 90, respectively. Senior Andrew Evans finished with a score of 101 and freshman Alex Solomon had a score of 111.
“I was just happy to play well really,” Karpeal said. “I didn’t really have anything set in mind like what I wanted to shoot. I just wanted to go play as well as I can and be proud about how I played.”
“He was so nonchalant that it was like it’s another day at the office,” Cipolleti said about Karpeal. “It speaks to a lot of his confidence level and his level of preparation and being prepared.”
Abatti led the women’s team and finished third overall in the match with a score of 95, 24 over par, and four behind the leader. Freshman Maeve Hanly followed in sixth with 103, while freshman Karina Volitich had a score of 112. Sophomore Jaclyn Rider rounded out the top four for Waynesburg with 143. Freshman Sara Otto played but withdrew due to illness.
“In comparison to last year, it’s a drastic improvement,” Abatti said. “[It’s] a bad score from my perspective, but it was so much better than my best score from last season. That means I’ve improved much more than I think I’ve shown so far.
“From what I’ve heard of all the scores I’m super happy with the incoming freshmen,” Abatti continued. “I think their scores are fine for where they are right now for being freshmen, their first college match. I think they did great.”
Cipoletti noted the impact of his young players.
“[The] freshmen played well,” Cipoletti said. “I know they were a little bit nervous. And it was different for them to play 18 holes too. It’s a big difference… so good stuff going on there.”
Both teams will play in the Grove City Fall Invitation next week, the women on Monday, Sept. 12, and the men on Thursday, Sept. 15. For Cipoletti, this will be the real test for these teams.
“You see how much you’ve improved between your first event and your second one,” he said. “That’ll be a little bit more pressure for freshmen because… there’s going to be six or seven other teams in it. They’ll probably get to see almost all of our conference competition there.”