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2013 Foothill League girls golf preview

Big changes bring parity in league

Posted: September 16, 2013 11:02 p.m.
Updated: September 16, 2013 11:02 p.m.
Valencia senior Joyce Kim is one of the few Foothill League top 10 individual finishers from last season returning to the fold for 2013. Valencia senior Joyce Kim is one of the few Foothill League top 10 individual finishers from last season returning to the fold for 2013.
Valencia senior Joyce Kim is one of the few Foothill League top 10 individual finishers from last season returning to the fold for 2013.

Two girls golfers — a sophomore and a junior — completely changed the Foothill League’s outlook for 2013.

And they’re not even playing.

West Ranch lost two Foothill League Most Valuable Player candidates in Julie Ward and Josie Lionetti — Ward for personal reasons and Lionetti because she is no longer enrolled at the school.

Add to the mix that the league’s third best golfer last year, Sarah Hong, graduated, and the two-time defending Foothill champions West Ranch is on the ropes.

“Definitely, this will be a trying year,” said West Ranch head coach Jeff Holen.

All of those losses have opened the door for Golden Valley, Hart and Valencia.

“This will be the closest year since I’ve been head golf coach,” said seventh-season Golden Valley head coach Tony Moskal. “I guarantee it will come down to last few holes at (Foothill League final).”

It’s that close.

Not forgetting about Saugus and Canyon, two teams that are experiencing growth in other ways, but the top four all have diverse strengths.

West Ranch has this ongoing tradition of excellence that Holen believes will motivate his girls.

Golden Valley has this newfound confidence after making the CIF postseason for the first time in program history last year.

Hart has some motivation after giving up the Foothill throne to West Ranch in 2011.

And Valencia has the best trio of returning players in the Foothill.

The one thing all four schools have in common is a bona fide No. 1 golfer — two of which are MVP favorites, sophomores Golden Valley’s Elisa Pierre and Hart’s Katie Corr.

As good as that battle will be, the league one should be the closest maybe ever.

West Ranch

Yearly, there has been a freshman girls golfer who has come into the Foothill League and made an instant impact.

That golfer is expected to be West Ranch’s Ashley Mayall this year.

She comes in immediately as the Wildcats’ No. 1 golfer.

“As good as advertised,” Holen said. “Coming into high school, she has to learn as a team (format) not to put pressure on herself.”

Mayall has length, athletic ability and determination. Holen hopes will become infectious among his other girls.

West Ranch won’t be as loaded as it was the last two years with the departure of its top five scorers from a year ago.

That has moved junior Shannon Faltys and sophomore Kate Caffrey up to the No. 2 and 3 spots.

Faltys should challenge for an individual playoff spot (which goes to the top seven finishers in league).

She finished 15th overall last year.

After those three, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will provide the Wildcats with a lift.


Hart’s Foothill League dynasty of 2007 to 2010 doesn’t seem that long ago, especially when one factors in that all those championships involved a Corr.

After two second-place finishes in league, another Corr is a large reason why the Indians can reclaim the title.

But three experienced golfers behind sophomore Katie Corr are larger reasons.

Corr, whose sister Jamie was last year’s Foothill League Most Valuable Player before graduating, will likely go head to head with Golden Valley’s Elisa Pierre for the league’s top individual prize, which goes to the top golfer in the league.

After Corr, senior Lauren Yi is dependable, having finished 10th overall in league last season.

Robb and Mullen had their moments last season and if they are able to shave off anywhere from five to 10 strokes combined, then Hart could be back in business.

Hart head coach Renee Onori, though, sees other golfers making the difference.

“I would say absolutely the fifth and sixth golfers will make or break as far as a team score,” she said.

And like the rest of the Foothill, those spots are up for grabs.

Golden Valley

Coming off the greatest season in team history, there was satisfaction and disappointment for the Grizzlies.

Satisfaction that the team made the postseason for the first time in program history, but disappointment that the second-place tiebreaker (both Golden Valley and Hart ended the season at 1,146 strokes) went to Hart because the Indians had a better throw-out team score.

The Grizzlies wore the hurt on their faces and with a coach heavy on motivation like Tony Moskal, this team is driven to be the first league champions in program history.

“What we did last year, we made other people notice we weren’t just another team that was a gimme win,” Moskal said. “I’ll say this, yes we can (win a Foothill title). We have the ability to. Then again, so do three other teams.”

Golden Valley’s rock Amanda Hobbs graduated, but Pierre is the top returning golfer and is just a sophomore.

Backing her is the 12th-ranked league golfer from a season ago Illeana Dullas, who Moskal said has a slight swing change but is an individual postseason contender.

The X-factor for Golden Valley is the sister duo of Camille and Gabby Mendoza, who now each have three years of varsity experience.

If their scores improve, the Grizzlies have a shot at a league title because Golden Valley has an up and coming freshman in Justine Reblando.


Only one team in the Foothill League has three girls returning who ranked in the top 16 last season.

With graduations and other departures, those girls make up three of the top eight returners in the Foothill.

Translation — Valencia is a serious league title contender a season after missing the CIF playoffs.

Senior Joyce Kim made the CIF individual playoffs a season ago, but a heavy class load has made golf secondary.

Sophomore Eunice Song has coaches around the Foothill complimenting a near-perfect golf swing and that could result in her pushing a couple of the league’s other top sophomores.

Senior Kaitlyn Humphries is consistently steady and was 16th overall last season.

Behind that power trio is an experienced senior in Rachel Sul.

“I knew I had those four players coming in, and I didn’t know what the competition was like,” said first-year head coach John Minkus. “My issue was filling in a fifth who can get around the course with a reasonable number.”

Not a bad problem to have with those four.


It’s a good news-bad news situation for Saugus.

The bad news being the Centurions lost their top four scorers from a season ago.

The good news is the bad news isn’t so bad.

Saugus did not reach the postseason last year and this year, under co-head coach Cal Linam who was an assistant on the girls team the last four seasons, opportunities are open left and right.

Freshman Clara Venger comes in as an immediate No. 1 with her past golf experience.

Her father is Tad Venger, a former star baseball player at Hart High who was the Cincinnati Reds first-round pick in 1977.

This team features an interesting mix of young and experienced as powerful freshman Kelli Morrow, senior Jade Tellers and junior Gaby Lopez will back Venger.

“We got fifth last year. It would be nice to be fourth or better,” Linam said. “Some of the younger players have a lot of promise. They have a lot of upside and can improve rapidly.”


Canyon is the third Foothill team with a new head coach in David Toshimitsu.

However, Toshimitsu has been an assistant the last four seasons and has had a significant impact on the program by helping start an offseason conditioning class and summer camp for the girls and boys teams.

The payoff hasn’t been seen in the standings as Canyon has perennially been at the bottom, yet there is more interest in golf at the school.

This season, Canyon will rely on senior co-captains Ashley Warner and Tiana Yamaoka.

Warner finished 22nd overall last season.

Sophomore Heather Kerr has a good, natural swing and Toshimitsu is expecting her to get better as her confidence builds.

After those three, depth is an issue.

“I want them to be competitive. It’s not about winning or losing, but doing the best and being competitive,” Toshimitsu said. “Canyon has always pretty much occupied the bottom of the league. Of course our goal is to move up and be competitive. So it’s not assumed we’re on the bottom.”


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