BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Armed with an experienced roster, first-year head coach Judy Dwyer leads the Lehigh women’s golf team into the 2012-13 season, which begins this weekend when the Mountain Hawks compete at the Lady Bison Fall Invitational in Lewisburg, Pa.
The Mountain Hawks did not lose any seniors to graduation, and with current seniors Chelsea Michalek, Ginette Schapira and Natalie Lansing leading the way, Dwyer is excited for what lies ahead for the program in the future.
“Our players are certainly talented but it is all about playing hard and staying focused,” Dwyer said. “I am very positive about the potential of this team. I really believe they have what it takes to win.”
The last week of preparation featured qualifying to determine the Lehigh lineup for this weekend’s opener. Once the lineup was established, course management became a focus for the Mountain Hawks.
“Last week we concentrated on qualifying and centering in on where we need to improve,” said Dwyer. “In preparing for this tournament we will be centering on short game and course management.”
Dwyer returns to Lehigh, joining the program after serving as the assistant coach for the Mountain Hawks from 2008-2010. She spent the 2011-12 school year as the girls golf coach at the Benjamin school in Jupiter, Florida. She takes over a Lehigh program that finished in the top half of four out of nine events last season, highlighted by the Mountain Hawks’ second straight win in the spring-opening Sunshine Spring Classic in Florida.
There is extra excitement for this season because this will mark the first season for women’s golf as a Patriot League sponsored sport. Lehigh is currently one of three institutions that sponsor women’s golf along with Bucknell and Holy Cross.
Following the team qualifier, it was determined that Michalek, Schapira, junior Crystal Lee, sophomore Kelly Moylan and freshman Tess Jennings would be the five-player team for this weekend’s tournament at Bucknell. Sophomore Melanie Dickens and freshman Nicole Feierberg will also compete as individuals this weekend.
The remainder of Lehigh’s roster consists of Lansing, junior Elle Sander and sophomore Alyssa Scheyd.
As a junior, Michalek led Lehigh in five of nine tournaments and posted two individual top 10 finishes. She opened last year’s spring season with a sixth place finish at the Sunshine Classic. She led the Mountain Hawks with top 20 finishes at final three spring events, and led the Mountain Hawks with a stroke average of 77.9 in 23 rounds last year.
Michalek will once again serve as team captain along with Schapira, who finished fourth at the Bucknell Invitational last year. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, Schapira averaged 79 strokes in 23 rounds and tops Lehigh in the classroom with a 3.96 grade point average in finance.
Through qualifying, Moylan and Jennings have especially caught Dwyer’s eye.
“Sophomore Kelly Moylan has really improved over the summer,” Dwyer said. “She made some equipment changes which really seem to be making her more consistent. Kelly was the medalist for the qualifying rounds (45 holes) for the Lady Bison with scores of 77, 75, and 41.”
Following this weekend’s tournament at Bucknell, Lehigh will play in the Yale Invitational, September 21-23 in New Haven, Connecticut and the Rutgers Invitational, October 5-6 in New Jersey.
The fall season will conclude with the Mountain Hawks hosting the Lehigh Invitational, October 20-21 at Saucon Valley Country Club. The spring season will start back up in March and will conclude April 20-21 when Bucknell hosts the Patriot League Championship.
“I think that this team is in a perfect position to really improve its performance, said Dwyer. We have a number of talented players vying for the five playing positions. The two co-captains, Chelsea Michalek and Ginette Schapira are really helping to encourage the team to work hard.”
The Lady Bison Fall Invitational begins Saturday morning on the Bucknell Golf Course. The tournament will conclude on Sunday.