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Mater Dei wins Southern Team Regional
FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Two schools are going where they have never been before, while on Monday another finally got the recognition that had eluded it.
Four of the six players who teed off for Mater Dei on the Classic Course at Mile Square Golf Course posted a score in the 70s, helping the No. 1 Monarchs cruise to a 15-stroke victory in the CIF-SS Southern Region Team Championship.
In two other seasons when Mater Dei topped the leaderboard in this tournament, the CIF didn’t classify it as an official championship, so this will be the first time the school's girls golfers will get a banner in Mater Dei’s gym, rings and photos on the school’s wall of fame.
“We are really, really happy to give them all of the things that they have coming,” Mater Dei coach Ollie Martin said.
Tesoro, led by Theodora Yoch’s 2-over-par 74, finished second with a 395 followed by Dana Hills (397) and Yorba Linda (415).
All four schools advance to the Southern Section Championship tournament on Monday in Temecula, making this the farthest that the Titans and Mustangs have advanced in a girls golf postseason.
Fountain Valley also finished with a 415, but Yorba Linda advanced on the sixth player’s score. Empire League champion Brooke Greabe led the Mustangs with an even-par 72.
“We are very happy. The girls are good friends and they help each other out so much,” Tesoro coach Don Skaff said. “It is a different girl that seems to step up for us every day. My No. 5 girl shot in the 70s.”
He was talking about Emma Kang, who carded a 5-over-par 77, which was the second-lowest score on the team.
“They are comfortable around each other, and when someone is down they pick her up,” Skaff said. “That is a great thing. This is big. I am really excited for these girls.”
Only three girls in the 150-player field finished under par. Fountain Valley sophomore Lilia Vu shared medalist honors with Dana Hills’ three-time South Coast League champion Avery French. Both players fired a 3-under 69. Edison’s Jennifer Yu posted a 1-under 71.
The Monarchs, Martin said, have already played a practice round at The Legends Golf Course in Temecula, site of the Southern Section championships, and they were well prepared for Monday’s regional, too. Martin scheduled a practice round for Mater Dei at Mile Square, but he said his girls didn’t stop there, coming out to the Classic Course several times on their own.
“They did that through the past three or four weeks. They wanted to prepare to win,” Martin said. “Strategy-wise, we know now how to play the Legends Course. It will still be a challenge, but our girls can still shoot low numbers. … They are extremely focused, and I am extremely proud of what they were able to accomplish this season.”
The Monarchs finished the season 12-0, the second time in the past three seasons they have gone undefeated. And they swept the top six positions at the Trinity League Championship tournament.
The school’s JV Team also won all its matches this season, and dating to the fall of 2010, Mater Dei’s JV and varsity programs have combined to post a 61-2 record.
Martin said the school’s recent success stems from the depth of Mater Dei’s golf program, the hard work that the girls put in on their own, the team’s new workout regimen and the Monarchs’ access to an on-campus practice facility, which lets the Monarchs hone their short game and analyze their swings through simulators and video analysis.
“The girls are dedicated and competitive, and they want to excel,” Martin said. “And they want to go after all of the championships that they can.”
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At Mile Square Golf Course
Classic Course, par 72
Top four finishers advance to the CIF-SS Team Championship at The Legends Golf Course in Temecula on Oct. 29
1. Mater Dei, 2. Tesoro 395, 3. Dana Hills 397, 4. Yorba Linda 415*, 5. Fountain Valley 415, 6. El Toro 416, 7. Long Beach Wilson 417, 8t. Edison 419, 8t. Cerritos 419, 10. Aliso Niguel 422
11t. Cypress 423, 11t. Santa Margarita 423, 13t. Beckman 426, 13t. Valencia 426, 15. University 428, 16. Marina 432, 17t. Northwood 434, 17t. San Clemente 434, 17t. Orange Lutheran 434, 20. Long Beach Poly 436, 21. Lakewood 445, 22. San Juan Hills 447, 23. St. Joseph’s/Lakewood 466, 24. Estancia 525, 25. Downey 597
*-awarded fourth place on the sixth-player’s score