October 09, 2013 - By Riley Holder
Review Special Writer
The Lake Orion girls' varsity golf team wrapped up the regular season with a victory last Thursday against Rochester, despite posting their highest score of the season.
The win brought the team's record to 6-2, including a 4-2 record in the OAA Red Division.
The 4-2 league record was very welcomed by the team after last season, when the team didn't win a single league match.
The biggest star of the team this season has been freshman Moyea Russell. Head coach Monty Gallaher said Russell has been a leader on the team this year despite being a freshman. She is averaging an 80 per 18 holes played this year.
To put this into perspective, the second best average on the Lake Orion team is an 89.
"She's my best player," Gallaher said. "It's her presence that has driven the rest of the team to get better. She practiced with us as an eighth grader, so we knew how good she was going to be."
A defining characteristic of the team this season is their youth. The squad features Russell, no seniors, two juniors, and three sophomores.
Two of the sophomores, Megan Miller and Lauren Danielson, were the number one and two players on the varsity squad last season as freshman. So this year the team features a lot of depth at the top of their order. Miller and Danielson have been averaging 89 and 90 this season respectively.
While Russell has captured the spotlight at times this season, the squad has had several moments when they've performed brilliantly as a team.
One example is last Wednesday's match against Stoney Creek at Twin Lakes Country Club. As a team, the Dragons shot a 160, their lowest score of the season and for the last several years, according to Gallaher.
The team was shockingly consistent in the win when it came to scores, shooting 39, 40, 40, and 41 for nine holes.
"Stoney Creek is a very good team. They have a lot of seniors. It's not like we went in expecting to lose, but we knew we had to play our very best to win, and we did," Gallaher said.
Despite having two losses on the season, Gallaher said "there's nothing I would change about this season. Nothing at all. We seem to be getting along well. The girls are enjoying the season. They're at practice smiling and having fun, and that's what it's about. It's not worth (winning) if we don't have fun and we're not enjoying ourselves, or if there's fights on the team. I have had plenty of that in the past. That's why with no hesitation this has been a tremendous year."
An interesting aspect of the team's season has been their interaction with a sports psychologist. Dr. Jared Wood is Lake Orion High School's school psychologist and has a doctorate in sports psychology. He has worked closely with team member this season.
"He works a lot with us on our mental aspect, which is believe is about 90% of the game. If you're calm, confident, and relaxed, that's when you do your best work. Whether it's golf, or taking a math test, that's how you do your best. You don't do anything well if you're stressed out," Gallaher said.
The postseason begins for the team this week with the regional round in Port Huron on Wednesday. Out of the 14 teams in attendance, the top three teams advance to the state final in East Lansing.
"We have a really good chance to advance," Gallaher said. "We've been averaging between 340 and 350 this year. I think if we shoot that number, we'll make it."
Last year at regionals, the team finished sixth and failed to qualify for the state round of the postseason.
"We're getting better, and the numbers don't lie. I'm very happy about where we're at, especially being so young. We're only going to get better, and I'm very confident that we're going to do well at regionals."