+ College Golf

Saints march into the DII Finals

The Limestone Saints will match up with Findlay University from Ohio in the NCAA DII Championship on Saturday. (Saints Photo)

The Limestone Saints will not have any trouble getting to the Chattahoochie Golf Club for the NCAA DII Championip on Saturday, they will have a police escort.

“I don’t know what to make of it,” said Saint’s coach Trey Turner. “All those blue lights seems like a lot of fuss to a country boy from Gaffney,” he joked.

While Turner could crack a joke about the escort, he was serious when he talked about how his team was able to grind out victories in the Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds of the Championship in Gainesville, Ga.

“Our girls had to work really hard in two matches today. It was a very long day, but very happy to be playing in the final,” he said.

The Saint’s matched up with West Texas A&M, a team Taylor and his staff didn’t know much about in the quarterfinals.

“We saw them hitting balls and they looked good. We had not seen them in any tournament this year so we didn’t have any expectations. We just went out and played,” said Taylor.

The format used in the championship, Medal-Match Play, counts every shot no matter which competitor wins the hole. At the end of the round the total score determines who wins the match.

The Saints first golfer Lena Schilowsky took an early lead over West Texas’ Lorenza Perini, but on their back nine Perini took over the lead and held off Schilowsky for a 1 stroke victory.

The Saint’s second golfer was Taylor Oberparleiter who had struggled during the stroke play qualifying rounds.

The Saint’s sophomore took the lead on her 7th hole over Alyssa Campbell, added to it on her final nine holes and won her match by 2-shots.

“I was so busy watching the matches I didn’t realize until after the round when I talked to Taylor her 69 was her best college score and we needed it” said Taylor

Maria Morales won her match by 4-shots and Stina Wikstrom finished 6-shots in front of her opponent giving the Saint’s three wins and the match.

Limestone sophomore Taylor Oberparleiter carded her best career round a 3-under 69 to win her quarterfinal match. (Limestone Photo)

Ebba Hellman finished 2-shots in front of her opponent for the 4-1 final score.

While the Saint’s were beating West Texas, Anderson knocked off Lynn 3-2 in a match that was not as close as the score indicated.

The three Trojan victories were by big margins. Jessica Rathbone won by 6-shots while Victoria Hall and Kerington Lamb produced 5-shot wins to help Anderson advance.

Anderson and Limestone are seperated by about 70 miles on I-85, but they have been right next to each other in many of the big tournaments this year.

“When we saw the bracket we kind of thought this could happen. We have been playing each other all year and in the conference,” said the Limestone coach.

In the semi-final Anderson’s Rathbone finished one shot in front of Schilowsky while Oberparleiter won her second match of the day with a 3-shot victory over Lamb.

Limestone’s Moralas and Anderson’s Kennedy McGaha tied in the third match.

Wikstrom and Hall looked like they might also end in a tie, but on the last hole Limestone got the point when Wikstrom carded a par for a 2-shot victory.

Limestone got the winning point when senior Hellman came back from trailing Emma Charles most of the match to win the 15th and 16th holes. She held on to finish with a 2 shot win in the match and a win for the Limestone team.

“It was nice to win. We played a really great group of girls (Anderson). This has been a five year journey for some of our players and we are looking forward to playing in the finals,” he said.

The Saint’s will match up against Findlay University, the eighth seeded team in the draw.

The Oilers from Findlay, Ohio knocked off the top ranked team from Dallas Baptist in the quarter final round 3-2 and scored a decisive 4-1 win over Barry in the Semi-Finals.

“We stress to our girls every single day that nothing is too big for them. No moment, no shot, nothing. What they did today was quite remarkable. They never got caught up in anything, they just focused on what they needed to do in that moment.,” said FIndlay coach Dominic Guarnieri.

Both teams will use the same lineups in the finals they did to get to the championship match.

“We are starting out with Wikstrom and we will finish with our most experienced golfer (Hellman) in the last match. No reason to change anything now,” said Taylor.

Live scoring will be available on GolfStat with the championship match scheduled to begin at 9:AM https://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=match&tid=24968&rid=3

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