They couldn’t be too disappointed.
No, the members of Cathedral High School’s girls golf team – particularly a tight-knit senior class – didn’t quite meet their season-ending goal during the 2017 season.
But Irish girls golf coach Mike Miller said that didn’t detract from a season that included a lot of winning – and ended with a lot of solid play throughout another successful postseason.
“It really was a good year,” Miller said after his second season as the Irish’s coach. “We were disappointed again, unfortunately, in the regional. We played pretty well – just not good enough.”
The Irish, after winning the City and All-Catholic meets, won the Lawrence North Sectional at South Grove with a team score of 297 – well ahead of runner-up North Central (338). Senior Maddie Dittoe won the sectional by a stroke with an 18-hole score of 69.
The Irish’s team season ended the following week with a fourth-place finish at the Lapel Regional at Edgewood. The Irish shot 317, finishing behind Fishers (305), Columbus North (306) and Hamilton Southeastern (306). The top three teams from each regional advance to state.
“We didn’t play bad in the regional,” Miller said. “There are five regional sites with 18 teams in each regional. So, you have 90 teams playing. Some were playing different courses, but only eight teams beat us that day. Unfortunately, three were in our region.
“We would have had to play at our absolutely best. Usually, 317 is good enough to get second and good enough to get out. It just wasn’t this year.”
The Irish, who finished the regular season tied for fifteenth in the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association state rankings, went unbeaten in dual matches in 2017. That included a pair of nine-hole, dual-meet victories over sixth-ranked Carmel.
“They beat us in a couple of 18-hole matches, but they’re one of the best five teams in the state,” Miller said. “It’s hard when it doesn’t quite work out in the end. You feel a little empty, but all in all it’s a really good year.”
Dittoe, who will play collegiately at Indiana University, shot 76 at the regional to advance to the 2017 Indiana High School Athletic Association state tournament at Prairie View Golf Club on September 29-30.
She finished tied for 33rd at the state tournament, shooting an 83-81-164.
“It wasn’t the way she wanted to go,” Miller said. “She wanted to go with her friends and her whole team. They developed some strong bonds. They wanted to go together really badly. We were glad for her she got the opportunity to finish out in that tournament.”
Dittoe, a four-year letter winner, was one of three seniors who were key for the Irish this season. That was a group that also included Sydney Hruskoci and Sophia Alexander.
When Dittoe won the sectional with the 69, Hruskoci finished third with a 71 and Alexander finished fourth with a 75. Miller said that finish was reflective of a strong, consistent season for a trio that improved steadily over their Cathedral careers.
“We had several matches against some of the best competition in the state where if it would have been three versus three we might have won,” Miller said. “We were right there.”
Junior Chloe Crannell, senior Piper Klika and sophomore Natalie Schorr played the four and five spots in the lineup, and Miller said Klika improved significantly over the course of the season. Crannell and Klika played the spots much of the season, with Schorr playing in the regional when Crannell missed with an illness.
“We’re going to have to find some people off the junior varsity,” Miller said. “We have people who have a chance to step up, but we’re going to need some people to improve and dedicate themselves to golf. They have to do some work to do in the offseason.
“I feel like in a lot of ways this team was as good as any we’ve had in the last three or four years. We shot a number that wasn’t good enough on a day we needed a better number. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you just get beat. I think this was just a situation where we got beat.
“Sometimes, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. But it does happen. It was just one of those deals.”