On the eve of what many considered a sign of the reemergence of Ichabod Golf, the team faced another disappointing appearance.
The last tournament of the fall season saw the Washburn golf team ending in a sixth place tie.
The invitational took place in Bolivar, Mo., the home site of Southwest Baptist. Because the tournament was part of MIAA play, it featured the usual adversaries: Central Missouri, Truman State and Southwest Baptist, who have all been in close competition with Washburn throughout the fall season.
Looking back at WU teams from the last two seasons, one can’t help but to wonder what has happened this year considering they are usually a lock for the conference title.
The team went from total and utter dominant form start to finish, ending tournaments barely near top of the leader board. One assumption is that this year unlike the previous years, the team lost some of its top players.
“It’s important to consider the lineup changes that we went through,” said senior Matt Salome. “For the past three years we probably lost one or two people a year, which for the most part equates to having the same team.”
Although the Bods brought back what many consider the core of the team, which includes the three Matts, the overall team chemistry and the collectively consistent level of play has looked like a thing of the past.
To this point, Matt Ewald’s level of play has been stellar, and to an extent he has been singlehandedly keeping the Bods in the running, but his accomplishments ultimately may amount to nothing if the team does not rally behind his charge and reassert themselves as the defending MIAA conference champs two years running.
Matt Lazzo, last season’s best player, has yet to come into 2007-08 form but if Salome’s prediction is right, Lazzo is in for an almost perfect second half of the season.
However, the team struggled even more than usual at Southwest Baptist. Ewald again carried the team, finishing fifth individually but the Bods were nowhere near the level of play seen by Central Missouri and Southwest Baptist.
The team is now entering an extended break from competition and expects to work hard over the break in order to get the kinks worked out and dominate their opposition. There is still a chance in the spring season for the Bods to have another banner year and finish as MIAA champions.
“I’ll be playing a lot of basketball to keep myself in shape, practicing hard and trying to refocus so that next season we can make up for the ground we lost in the fall,” said Lazzo.
For now, the one thing that we can say for sure about this 2008-2009 golf campaign is that it is far from over, and hopefully the best is yet to come.