Wildcats Ready for One of Best Seasons in Recent Memory
Sept. 26, 2006
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The signs of progress for the Villanova men's golf team have not been hard to find over the past two seasons. In 2004-05 the team returned to the postseason for the first time since prior to the 2000 campaign. Last season the Wildcats posted six top-five finishes at tournaments and had a composite team stroke average of 294.81, the lowest in the 14-year head coaching tenure of Jake and Joe Moran.
The 2006-07 season approaches with optimism that Villanova can continue the progress it has made over the past two seasons. The Wildcats appear loaded with one of their most talented squads in recent memory and expect to compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament in the spring.
The team will lean heavily senior co-captains Steve Arnold (Langhorne, Pa.) and Brock Bergman (Pittsburgh, Pa.). The present and future of the team look bright, as the other six players on the roster include five sophomores and one freshman. Leadership will come from the two seniors, however, who each posted career-best stroke averages last season. Arnold led the squad with a 72.69 average round and Bergman posted a stroke average of 75.86.
Two other positions in the regular tournament lineup could be filled by sophomores Andrew Alexander (Rochester, Minn.) and Doug Stadler (Wexford, Pa.). The pair each played in every tournament for the Wildcats last season and have proven to be capable of being consistent low scorers. Alexander was second on the team with a stroke average of 74.69 and Stadler registered a 75.12 mark.
"We have a strong core of players in our senior captains and the sophomore class," Joe Moran said. "Our top four players each posted a stroke average less than 76.00 last season. The key to our success this season will be the ability to find strength in the lower part of the lineup."
Rounding out the sophomore class is the trio of Brett Bergman (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Bill Gropp (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) and Paul Sjoberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.). Bergman won the team's qualifying tournament to make the roster for the fall season and will be given a chance to earn a spot in the weekly lineup. Gropp and Sjoberg each had successful collegiate debuts this season and qualified for the roster once again through the qualifying tournament.
Also joining the roster is freshman Mike Gross (Clarks Green, Pa.), who was the 2005 Lackawanna League Player of the Year at Scranton Prep.
The Wildcats will get a different look to their schedule this season, opening the fall at the Hartford Invitational. Villanova will also head to the Cornell Invitational in addition to returning to competitions at Rutgers and Georgetown. The fall season will also feature the Big 5 Classic on October 14-15 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Last season the Wildcats earned their first-ever Big 5 trophy by beating out each of its city rivals at the Big 5 Classic.
"The world of college golf is more competitive than ever before," Moran said. We have talented players that are working to get better every day. We look forward to an exciting season in 2006-07 and feel we're building something here that will be a great source of pride for our players and the University in the years to come."