Feb. 26—St. Joseph golfer Macie Taylor had an appropriate summation of her team's recent return to competitive matches.
"It's a lot better than playing by myself," Taylor quipped before her team took on Pioneer Valley in the second dual match of the spring season last week.
So there Taylor was during a nice afternoon on the course at Blacklake, joined by teammates Kaitlyn Nunez, Mackenzie Taylor, Annie Heybl, Sophia Cordova and Lita Mahoney.
After months of lockdowns and quarantines, a return to normalcy was certainly appreciated by the entire team.
Though the normalcy is good, St. Joseph coach Jim Fosdick is focused on his team improving its scores, admitting that the coronavirus pandemic will likely have an impact on the results of the early season.
"There's been quite a bit of rust," Fosdick said. "I basically have two freshmen and everyone else is back on the team. One freshman is a raw beginner and the other, Annie Heybl, is going to be No. 2 on the team. That looks good there.
"I've got three seniors who are going to start recruiting (more players) too."
Fosdick said of Heybl: "Annie is someone to watch. I had three girls break 50 on (Feb. 15), which is good for this league. I think any one of them is capable on a given day if they screw things on tight."
Fosdick said the school closures over the last year has had an impact on his ability to coach up the team. He says about half of the girls have returned to in-class instruction and the other half has maintained distance learning.
St. Joseph has been just about the only high school in the area that's offered in-class instruction to all its students. Not having school on campus creates an overlooked barrier to team-building, Fosdick said.
"We just don't have the access to the campus like we used to," Fosdick said. "It's hard to have a meeting."
The Knights do have one of the top players in the area in Nipomo High transfer Kaitlyn Nunez, who's now a junior.
"She'll probably be tops in the league," Fosdick said of Nunez. "I don't know of anybody else who is on that grind — at least in this league. You've got a couple in the Mountain League that are pretty good. We've been breaking 250 as a team almost every time and that's a pretty good number. I think the last time we played in CIF, like 261 won it in Division 3."
Fosdick said that while Nunez has been consistently playing several times a week, most of the team hasn't been playing that consistently over the last year or so.
Macie Taylor, the senior, said the team has a good approach to competitive matches.
"The team is both laid back and competitive and we're all really close so it makes it fun when we get to play," Taylor said. "It's been good, these last couple years we've gotten a lot better with coach Fosdick, so it's been a good experience."
Taylor said being able to attend school at least some this year has been beneficial.
"We've been back to school since October and I'm definitely glad we can go because I know a lot of people can't," she said "It's good we have that opportunity."
St. Joseph beat Pioneer Valley twice last week, scoring a 249-307 win over Pioneer Valley, which has gone on to win both its matches this week against Morro Bay, on Feb. 18.
Fosdick said he's unsure if the CIF Central Section will hold golf finals this year and there won't be league finals as the season will consist entirely of dual matches.
St. Joseph is scheduled to host Santa Maria in an Ocean League dual at the Santa Maria Country Club on Monday in its next match.
Pioneer Valley beats Morro Bay
The Panthers swept Morro Bay this week with a 278-280 win over the Pirates in Morro Bay on Thursday.
Pioneer Valley coach Marcus Guzman reported that Breanna Villalobos led the Panthers to another win by earning medalist honors again with a score of 50 at the Morro Bay Golf Course.
Villalobos shot a 46 in a 266-269 win over the Pirates at Blacklake on Monday. On Thursday, the Panthers scorers were Villalobos, Carmen Guerrero (53), Marissa Dollinger (54), Clarissa Novela (59) and Katrina Mata (62).
The Morro Bay scorers were Juli Bishop (53), Bella Calibaso (54), Elli Martinez (55) and Lena Karas (58).
OA match cut short due to darkness
Orcutt Academy coach Jim McManus said the Spartans played Nipomo at Monarch Dunes but only got about five holes in due to darkness.
Orcutt Academy shot a score of 153 while Nipomo shot 170 on those five holes. Kariss Whitford had the low round with a 26 over the five holes.
"I'm very pleased with the girls and their consistent play throughout," McManus said.
Mission Prep beats SM 8-1
Nua Santana won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4 singles for Santa Maria's win.
Alma Fernandez, the Saints' No. 6 player, went three sets before suffering a loss.