Methacton, Owen J. Roberts advance to PAC-10 Golf Final
SKIPPACK- As the Methacton golfers prepared for Tuesday afternoon's Pioneer Athletic Conference semifinal, they knew that their perfect 9-0 record during the regular season didn't really mean much anymore ... especially against a team that they had beaten by just one stroke less than two weeks ago.
The Warriors knew that their top players had to come in with low scores, and four of them did - all with two-over par 37's on the Skippack Golf Club's front nine — in a 188-194 win over defending champion Spring-Ford. Methacton will face Owen J. Roberts, a 184-211 winner over Perkiomen Valley, in the championship match on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Gilbertsville Golf Club.
Brandon Vance, Kyle Vance, Mike Foley, and Dan Rieger all shared low score honors for Methacton (10-0) in an overall well-played match on the Warriors' home course in which nobody on either team shot higher than a 43. John Foley, Connor Boham, and Chase Armour each carded a 38 for the fourth-seeded Rams (6-4, 8-6).
"We talked about that in practice,' said Methacton coach Kevin Flanagan. "We're 9-0, we're this, we're that. It really doesn't matter. When you're the No. 1 seed, there's a lot of stress on you. They did a good job of focusing the last couple days in practice.'
"We figured that the top four had to go low today,' said PAC-10 two-time individual champion Brandon Vance. "Thirty-seven is a pretty decent round. It's not as good as the no. 8 guy shooting a 38 and the low a 33.'
Last year the Warriors had lost to the Rams by a 205-212 score in the semifinals, snapping their string of two straight titles. But that wasn't their biggest motivation on Tuesday. As usual, the main goal was to try to shoot the low score for the well-balanced team.
"We just treated it like another match ... just play your game,' said Brandon Vance. "Everybody motivates each other. Everyone wants to go low all the time.'
"We're pretty consistent, one through eight,' added Mike Foley. "Any one of us can go low. That's probably the best part of our team. You don't want to be the one who's out of the scoring.'
Corey Betham and Nick Frassenei also helped the cause for the Warriors as they came in with scores of 40 to tie for fifth-best on the squad.
"It's nice to see all the top guys come in with 37's,' said Flanagan. "And Corey Betham has played really great. A good win, considering what our first match was. Our goal is a 190. Shooting 190 means they're giving their best effort, one through eight. I knew it was going to be tight. Spring-Ford fought hard. They're very respectful. I think (the Final Four) is good for the kids, good for the league.'
Matt Keim and Jack Andrews finished in the scoring five for Spring-Ford with 40's. But the team's overall result wasn't quite as good as the regular season match against the Warriors, also at Skippack, when the Rams lost by a score of 184-185.
Next for Methacton will be an OJR team that lost to the Warriors by just a 191-192 score at the Wildcats' home course in Kimberton three weeks ago and finished the regular season as the second seed with an 8-1 record.
"They're going to be a real tough opponent, one through eight,' added Flanagan, who thinks his team is peaking at the right time. "We kind of stressed that during the year. You want to keep building to your best score. You don't want to have your best score in the middle of the year and then hit a plateau. I feel we still have our best score as a team coming up.'
Owen J. Roberts 184, Perkiomen Valley 211:
The Wildcats easily beat the Vikings in the PAC-10 Final Four semifinals, led by Maddie Sager with an even par 34, and Jared Faust with a two-over 36 at the Kimberton course. Conner Ruyak, Laura Hackman, and Eric Faust each shot a 38.
Nate Guerinni was low scorer for the Vikings with a 40, followed by Nick Luciani with a 41,
Mike Foley thought that the key to his round was his ability to bounce back from bad shots. ... "I had real nice recovery shots,' he said. "I recovered whenever I had a bad shot. I got back where I wanted to be.' ... Methacton has made it to the playoffs four years in a row after missing out on the Final Four during its first two seasons in the league. ... OJR will be making its first appearance in the championship match