GVSU women’s golf with high hopes for 2015

GVL / Courtesy - 
Alex Taylor

GVL / Courtesy – Alex Taylor

Andy Smith

Expectations could hardly be higher for Grand Valley State women’s golf. From top to bottom – senior to freshmen – the team is looking to do big things.

“Our main goal is to be in the national championship,” said senior Gabrielle Shipley. “We want to be there as a team, we are dreaming big and we know we have a good shot to get there. “

The Lakers have the tough task of replacing three-time All-American Kelly Hartigan who graduated last year, but the team feels it has the depth to fill the Hartigan void.

“You don’t look to replace someone like Kelly,” said head coach Rebecca Mailloux. “We are counting on (Shipley) and our other golfers to step up. They have been working really hard in the offseason, our one-two combo might not be as good as it was last year, but I have faith that we will be deeper two through five and that will make us a stronger team.”

The Laker women have heaps of returning talent, and it all starts with Shipley. The Hastings, Michigan native snagged WGCA All-America First Team honors last season, and was named GLIAC Women’s Golf Athlete of the Year, while posting a scoring average of 74.82.

The nature of golf is such that one top athlete on a team can excel at accomplishing individual goals, but in order for a team to be successful, depth and consistency need to make their presence known.

GVSU returns a fair amount of experience, save for the loss of Hartigan, and will need one of its returners, outside of Shipley, to establish a niche as a reliable scorer.

The Lakers have no shortage of candidates for that slot — nor a shortage of experience in their candidates. Juniors Julie Guckian and Alex Taylor both earned All-GLIAC Second Team laurels as sophomores in 2014-15, and competed in all 12 tournaments. Both Guckian and Taylor were in the lineup for all six of GVSU’s wins, including the Lakers’ eighth consecutive GLIAC Championship.

Two not-so-new, yet still intriguing, names are Sam Moss and Danielle Crilley. Moss, a former GLIAC Freshman of the Year, also competed in 12 tournaments last season. Crilley played her first year at Oakland University, but joined the Lakers last season and showed flashes of promise.

A step up from either Moss or Crilley could go a long way for the Lakers in 2015-16.

“I want to be in the top five all year and travel with the team to every event,” Moss said. “We also want to go to nationals and win it. We are very confident that we can get there.”

The remainder of the Lakers roster is filled out by freshmen Alex Amos and Mackenzie Blomberg.

GVSU began its quest for a national championship as it traveled to Michigan State to compete in the Mary Fossum Invitational. The Lakers came away with a seventh-place finish, beating four Division I schools in the field.

“Doing this well in tournament like this gives us the confidence that we can beat anyone no matter what division they are in, and it doesn’t mean that just because you go to a Division I school doesn’t mean that you are any better than the Division II schools,” Shipley said. “We can use this as confidence boost for the team and capitalize on what we did right, and we also know the areas that we have to work on.”

Shipley led the Lakers, shooting a three-day score of 221, good for an individual fifth-place finish at the invitational. Moss shot a 239, Amos and Guckian carded 242s, and Alex Taylor rounded out the day for the Lakers with her 253.

The Laker women will be back in action on Sept. 26 to 27 when they host the seventh annual Gilda’s Club Laker Fall Invite.