There's finishing strong, and then there's what Ashland University's women's golf team did to end the fall portion of its 2014-15 season.
On Oct. 18-19 at the Malone-Pioneer Invitational in Massillon, Ohio, the Eagle women not only won the 16-team event, but turned in a scorching second-round total of 290 and an equally-impressive two-day mark of 595.
"Overall, (I'm) pleased," said first-year AU head coach Kory Oslie. "It was kind of a learning process, a growing process. Having me as their coach, (it was) a learning experience of how I coach and how I play. It was a fun learning experience. We got better. We were able to hone in on those weaknesses. The results show. We improved every single tournament."
Improving in every tournament eventually meant shaving off 39 strokes from the two-day total of 634 in a fourth-place finish at the Indianapolis Fall Invitational on Sept. 21-22 to the sub-600 mark in Massillon.
"We put two really solid rounds together (at Massillon)," Oslie said. "I thought we played well enough the first day to put ourselves in a great position to play our best golf on the second day."
Ashland's women finish the fall season ranked eighth in Division II, and the Eagles were ranked as high as fifth. It certainly was a team effort, as three different AU golfers led the team in the four fall events (sophomore Kaitlin Neumann twice, and junior Ali Green, tied for first in Massillon, and senior Abby Tepe once each).
Five golfers had a fall-best round of 76 or lower – Green (70), Neumann (72), Tepe (72), senior Madison Musick (74) and sophomore Emily Jereb (76). Green and Neumann both averaged a round of 77, with Tepe right behind at 77.63.
"We played really good team golf," Oslie said. "When one person was down, the rest of the team did their job, picked them up. They constantly had to grind it out and play their best to jump ahead of another team."
Ashland will pick up play to start the spring season on March 2-3, 2015, at the Peggy Kirk Bell Invitational, hosted by Rollins College, in Winter Springs, Fla.
"Motivation is obviously going to be a big key for us," Oslie said. "We know we're still sitting third in our region, and only three teams get out. We can't just rest and say we are in a good spot."