COLUMBUS, Ohio – Small steps over the offseason have led to big strides for the Capital University women's golf team, and they hope that will translate to this spring season. The Crusaders will return a young roster, but will serve as a preview of the success that may be arriving sooner rather than later.
First-year head coach Andy Garcia is excited for the mix of youth and senior leadership. He cites that senior Kristen Sollmann (Beavercreek, Ohio) has seen the greatest improvement from the fall to the spring season.
"She has really worked hard on her game and accepted any changes made to her swing," said Garcia. "As a captain, she sets a great example not only on the course but in the classroom as well."
Capital will spotlight a trio of sophomores that will bolster their lineup card heading into this weekend's action. Janie Moller (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) saw her scores decrease over the entire fall season, posting a one-round low of 91 at the Defiance Invitational to help Capital to a fourth-place finish. She could surface as Capital's top player in the near future.
"Janie does everything the right way," says Garcia. "She's always one of the first to practice every day and builds upon her game from day to day. Rarely does she ever take a step back. Her swing has improved so much in the past few months. It's scary that she is only a sophomore. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for her."
Her classmates Christy Conley (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Pickerington Central) and Katie Lease (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) round out the second-year threesome, and the excitement around their individual development is just as high. Conley came out of the gate and shot a 90 in the first round of the Safari Fall Invitational, while Lease shot 89 in three straight rounds and finished fourth overall at the Heidelberg Fall Invitational.
Rounding out the lineup is freshman Katelynn Kinley (Sycamore, Ohio), who has been thrust into a starting role this season. With only two rounds under her belt, Garcia will need Kinley to ready herself for a quick impact role.
"Katelynn has done a great job thus far of being thrown into a starting role and adjusting to the golf courses on the fly," said Garcia. "Where she lacks distance on some courses she makes up for it with smart play and a great short game."
Capital finished a respectable fourth place in last year's Ohio Athletic Conference Championship, but looks to take its young lineup in with the mindset to better that mark. Three of five players were a part of last year's squad that competed in West Lafayette.
"Our team goals are simple. We want to improve our scores every week and continue to gain confidence," continued Garcia. "Confidence is big for this group because all five of them can be all-conference, but it's going to take hard work and dedication."
The ladies will open their season at the Battle of the Beach, a two-day tournament hosted by Tiffin University at Myrtlewood Golf Club. They will then take a few weeks off and return to the links at Colonial Golf Club, hosted by Ohio Northern University, on April 2-3.