The Valparaiso University women’s golf team completed one final tune-up prior to the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, golfing all 36 holes of the Saluki Invitational at Hickory Ridge in Carbondale, Ill. on Sunday. The event was initially scheduled to span Sunday and Monday, but the weather caused the teams to compress the tournament into a one-day format. Valpo finished in eighth of 14 in the team standings while battling unfavorable course and weather conditions.
How It Happened
- Katie Willenbrink (Mishawaka, Ind. / Penn) was the top performer for the Crusaders, carding an 81 in the opening round before following with an 82 in Round 2. She finished with a team-low 163, good enough to tie for 25th overall.
- Kylie Shoemake (Schererville, Ind. / Lake Central) turned in a 164, finishing one stroke behind Willenbrink for the team lead. Shoemake took part in a tie for 31st.
- Sophomore Kayla Krueger (Spring Lake, Mich. / Spring Lake) turned in a 166 as she trimmed four strokes off her opening round score in Round 2. Tiffany Curtis (Crown Point, Ind. / Crown Point) and Shelby Schier (Greenwood, Ind. / Center Grove) also improved from Round 1 to Round 2, dropping their scores by four and seven strokes respectively.
- Madison McCreary (Batesville, Ind. / Batesville), Kiana Jongsma (Dyer, Ind. / Lake Central) and Grace McMinn (Omaha, Neb. / Marian) competed as individuals, with McCreary leading that group at 168 (t-48) after carding an 81 in Round 2.
Inside the Rounds
- Krueger had the only eagle of the tournament, completing a Par 5 second hole in three strokes.
- Valpo finished ahead of six teams in the standings, their most of the season in a single event.
- The Crusaders finished with a team score of 663 (334-329), four strokes ahead of UIC. Missouri Valley Conference foe Loyola finished just ahead of Valpo in the tournament standings, placing seventh.
- IUPUI won the event with a 617, finishing seven strokes ahead of the host Salukis. Southern Illinois’ Moyea Russell was the individual champion at 145.
Thoughts from Head Coach Jon Haas
“I’m really pleased with how the kids played in adverse conditions. The course was very wet and played extremely long. This was a great experience to help us prepare for conference next month.”
The next time the Crusaders take the course in a tournament setting, they will do so for the MVC Championship in Newton, Kan. The first day of the three-day event at Sand Creek Station Golf Course will be Sunday, April 15. This marks the team’s first championship tournament as a member of The Valley.