SETTING THE STAGE
Coming off back-to-back seasons that featured league championships, and coming off a spring campaign that saw the team finish just outside of the bubble for a team berth in the NCAA Super Regionals, the Merrimack College women's golf team has been used to having lofty expectations and loftier goals year in and year out, as the program has quickly cemented its spot as the top team in the Northeast-10 Conference and one of the top teams in the East Region.
Merrimack's fall schedule featured tournaments with fellow Northeast-10 Conference schools, as well as plenty of other invitationals against some of the top programs not just in the region, but in the country. Altogether, the schedule featured tournaments in five different states, including one tournament that was hosted by Merrimack for only the second time in program history.
EARLY SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
Merrimack started the season off on a high note, defeating Southern New Hampshire by 34 strokes in a two-team dual match on Sept. 3 at Lake Sunapee Country Club in New Hampshire. The following day would see the team settle for fourth place in a five-team invitational with fellow Northeast-10 Conference squads to wrap up the first weekend of the fall.
A bit more than a week later, the team put forth a strong effort into the final day of the University of Indianapolis Invitational, as the Warriors placed 13th in a loaded 17-team field in what was the final tournament before the league championship. One day after setting a new career-low with a score of 72, sophomore Krystal Knight (pictured right) finished the tournament strong with a 77 to place tied for 12th with a two-day total of 149.
That set the stage for the 2016 Northeast-10 Conference Championship hosted by Franklin Pierce in Keene, New Hampshire, where the Warriors would go for their third consecutive conference title.
THE NE-10 TOURNAMENT BEGINS
day 1 recap
Merrimack put itself in prime position after posting a team score of 315 on Day 1 of the 2016 NE-10 Championship at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene, New Hampshire, to lead the tournament's team field by 13 strokes. Knight, last year's Outstanding Rookie of the Championship, highlighted a trio of Warriors who ranked in the top-four of the individual leader board with a Day 1-best score of 2-over-par 74.
Right behind Knight was last year's individual champion, junior co-captain Alessandra Ricigliano (pictured left), who posted her best round of the season with a 3-over-par 75. Junior Jessica Wagner also put up her best effort of the season to round out Merrimack's trifecta of golfers with scores in the 70s after posting a seven-over-par 79. No other team in the tournament had more than one player finish in the 70s on Day 1.
Day 1 Individual Scores
- 1st – Knight (74)
- T-2nd – Ricigliano (75)
- 4th – Wagner (79)
- T-14th – Monaco (87)
- 31st – Gervais (97)
Day 1 Team Scores
- 1st – Merrimack (315)
- 2nd – Le Moyne (328)
- 3rd – Franklin Pierce (330)
- 4th – Adelphi (341)
- 5th – SNHU (357)
- 6th – St. Rose (360)
- 7th – Assumption (367)
DAY 2 RECAP
After building a 13-stroke lead through the tournament's opening round, Merrimack secured its third consecutive league title by trimming five strokes off its Day 1 score and won the two-day tournament by 21 total strokes to secure a three-peat as league champions. Ricigliano (repeated as the tournament's individual medalist for the second year in a row, as three Warriors finished in the tournament leaderboard's top-five. Merrimack remains the only school in the NE-10 to win a women's golf league title since the conference began sponsoring the sport in 2014-15.
After shooting a 3-over-par 75 yesterday, Ricigliano played the best round not only of the fall, but of her career, setting a new career-low with a 1-under-par 71 to card a two-day total of 146; Ricigliano, who also won the individual medalist title last fall, finished 2-over-par for the tournament and led the field in Par 4 (4.10) and Par 5 (4.75) average scoring.
Knight, last year's Outstanding Rookie of the Championship, finished third in the individual leader board with a two-day ledger of 154, four strokes back of second place and 10-over-par on the tournament. Right behind Knight was Wagner; the individual medalist back in the inaugural NE-10 Championship in April of 2015, Knight posted her best round of the season for the second day in a row, carding a 4-over-par 76 to finish with a two-day total of 155 (79-760). She ranked fourth overall.
Ricigliano, Knight and Wagner all earned all-conference recognition for their efforts in the tournament.
FINAL TOURNAMENT INDIV. SCORES
- 1st – Ricigliano (75-71—146)
- 3rd – Knight (74-80—154)
- 4th – Wagner (79-76—155)
- T-12th – Monaco (87-83—170)
- 26th – Gervais (97-87—184)
FINAL TOURNAMENT TEAM SCORES
- 1st – Merrimack (315-310—625)
- 2nd – Franklin Pierce (330-316—646)
- 3rd – Le Moyne (328-321—649)
- 4th – Adelphi (341-362—703)
- 5th – St. Rose (360-355—715)
- 6th – SNHU (357-362—719)
- 7th – Assumption (367-354—721)
OTHER FALL SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS
After winning the league title, Merrimack also competed in two more tournaments in October, finishing in seventh at the Big Apple Invitational that the program hosted down in White Plains, New York, on Oct. 17-18, before rounding out the fall slate with an eighth-place finish at the Trevacca Invitational in Tennessee. Wagner earned NE-10 Golfer of the Week honors, becoming the second Warrior to do so this season, after finishing in a tie for 16th at the Big Apple Invitational.
TOP FALL ROUNDS
- SNHU Dual: Ricigliano (1st, 76)
- NE-10 Preview: Wagner (6th, 81)
- UIndy Invitational: Knight (T12, 72-77-149)
- NE-10 Championship: Ricigliano (1st, 71-75-146)
- Big Apple Invitational: Wagner (T16, 81-76-157)
- Trevacca Fall Invitational: Ricigliano (17, 79-75--154)
TEAM FINISHES BY TOURNAMENT
- Southern N.H. Dual: 1st/2
- NE-10 Fall Preview: 4th/5
- Uindy Invitational: 13th/17
- NE-10 Championship: 1st/7
- GolfRank Invitational: Canceled
- Big Apple Invitational: T-7th/14
- Trevacca Fall Invitational: 8th/13