WINONA LAKE, Ind. – In their first year of existence in 2015-16, Grace College’s women’s golf team shattered all expectations as a program.
After being chosen to finish last in the preseason coaches’ poll, the squad under head coach Denny Duncan beat three teams in the Crossroads League Championship to place sixth overall.
Lauren Keiser, Libby Tully, and Stevie Luebbert anchored Grace’s lineup throughout the year. Keiser qualified for the NCCAA National Championship as a freshman, made six All-Tournament Teams and was honorable mention for All-League.
As a team Grace improved its scoring average by 10 strokes between the fall and spring seasons.
But despite the success Grace found in its maiden season, the Lady Lancers are ready to get down to business in 2016-17.
“I’ve been looking forward to the season with great anticipation and excitement. Last year the girls exceeded my expectations at every level,” Duncan said. “As satisfied as we may have been with last year, we have far more potential this year. This year, our goal will be to win rather than make a good showing.”
As a team this year, Grace wants to finish in the top half of the Crossroads League and make it to Florida again for NCCAA Nationals.
To meet those goals, Duncan noted that the Lady Lancers need to improve in consistency, both on the course and in their mental games. “We need to improve our ball striking and short game. And most importantly, we need to improve our mental approach to the game. We were so young last year that we inevitably struggled with the game’s adversity,” he said.
Grace has four incoming freshmen ready to contribute. Anna Marshall was a four-year letter winner on the boys’ team at Wauseon (Ohio) High School and was recently named the NWOJGA Player of the Year for the second time. Sydney Abbott is a two-time state finalist from Center Grove. Paige Shearer is an All-Conference, All-Area performer from West Noble, and Sarah Ganger is a standout from Piqua (Ohio). The class has the ability and the opportunity to “make an immediate impact” from Duncan’s perspective.
Ultimately, Duncan wants the program to continue developing young women who grow spiritually and who want to serve others. “This is a fantastic group of girls. I can’t wait to see how they grow on the course and within our campus and community.”
The Lady Lancers will start their season on Aug. 24 with the Ancilla Invitational.