Men's Golf 1997 Season Outlook
Heading into the last season with only two returning golfers from the previous year's playing roster, 1996 looked to be a season of transition with patience and learning being the keys. Team success last season was to depend on how quickly a group of six freshmen could become accustomed to the pressures of the college game. The Wildcats led by captain Steve Horky, however, proved that heart often outweighs experience as they finished in the top 10 in nine out of their 12 tournaments, including a second place finish at the Staebler Invitational.
With the younger players now having a year of experience under their belts and captain Steve Horky back for his senior year, expectations for the 1997-98 season are much higher than they were just one year ago. When you add the element of experience to the Wildcats' already strong work ethic, confidence and enthusiasm for the game, it looks to be a very special season for coaches Joe and Jake Moran and the Villanova golf team.
Horky will once again golf in the number one position for the Wildcats after a stellar junior year. Last season at the Big East Championships he golfed a two-day total of 154 to finish tied for 11th place individually, helping the Wildcats to a fourth place overall finish. Horky's best performance, however, came at the 1996 James Madison Invitational where he shot a 138, four under par, over two days to finish in first place after a playoff.
Golfing in the number two position for the Moran's in 1997 will be sophomore Peter Dlugosch who impressed all with his confident play as a freshman last season. At the Big East Championships, he finished tied with teammate Steve Horky for 11th place, as the Cats moved up three spots from their 1995 finish. Dlugosch also shot a team best 157 to finish in 15th place at the Colgate/Cornell Invitational.
The next two golfers in the Wildcat playing rotation look to be fellow sophomore's Dugan Condon and Anthony Napoletano. Like Dlugosch, both Condon and Napoletano had impressive rookie seasons for the Cats in 1996, with much of the same expected in the upcoming season. Condon's best 1996 performance came in the Staebler Invitational where he finished tied for 6th, helping lead the Villanova team to a second place overall finish. Napoletano's top outing came in the Princeton Invitational where he shot a 75 and a 74 over two days to place 12th out of 100 golfers.
Two other returnees also likely to see time in the Wildcat playing rotation are sophomore's Jeff Shookus and Tim Walker. Just as was the case in 1996, the future is now with a recruiting class of five looking to make an immediate impact.
"The ability of our five recruits Chris Ellis, Garrett Feduke, Joey Gallinaro, Nick Maselli and Andy Wright to perform under tournament pressure will be an important factor in the upcoming season," said Moran.
With the right combination of veteran leadership and freshmen contributions, the 1997 season could be an exiting one for the Moran brothers and their Villanova golf team.
"We expect to win the Big East and be ranked high enough to go to the NCAA regionals," said Moran. "Our expectations are very high and we feel the dedication of our players will help us to reach our goals. "The 1997 'Cats feel the key to a successful team is setting high expectations and then letting hard work and performance do the talking.