Tigers back-to-back in conference

Preston Zbroszczyk, Sports Editor

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Boys’ golf swings into the new season looking to match the same results from last year.

Trying for a different approach to this season, coach Michael Kniep did not lean on one leader, but instead to an overall leadership and responsibility throughout all his 10 players.

“We will not have captains this year,” Kneip said. “The goal is to try and get the entire team to take ownership of their own roles.”

Coming off of an undefeated last season, pressure was riding on the Tiger’s to repeat its back-to-back SPC Conference titles. The Tiger’s 18 consecutive dual match win streak would not be an easy streak to match throughout this season as conference opponents in the past have given North a run for their money.

“I expect us to be in the running for a second straight SPC conference Championship, “said Kniep early in the season.  “It won’t be easy as conference opponents Minooka and Oswego will be tough as they usually are year to year.”

The Tigers opened the season on Aug. 18 at Blackberry Oaks winning the match 156-154.

North had a challenge playing conference matchups against Oswego and Minooka but winning both conference matches at Heritage Bluffs gave the Tigers confidence heading into The Big Cat Cup tournament.

“We knew how big those two matches were knowing the struggles that we have had in the past meant that we had to put the extra work into practice that week,” senior Matt Shern said.

North achieved some memorable finishes as the Tigers swept the top three spots in the Big Cat Cup.  Sophomores Drew Maletich and Patrick Farnan took the top spot, shooting a combined score of 68. Sophomore Todd Daugherty and Junior Ryan Gilbert took the second spot of the tournament shooting a combined score of 71. To round the third spot of the tournament seniors Moskaluk and Shern shot a combined score of 72 to complete the Tiger sweep.

Drew Moskaluk shot the school’s first ever hole in one which was a huge individual success.  Additionally, it further added to group spirit as well as grew confidence in the team.

“It was huge for the team to continue the Tiger standard of winning, and it felt good to have a good showing with Matt Shern to keep the consecutive win streak alive,” Moskaluk said.

Having a deep roster of athletes from all grade’s levels helped the Tigers keep a balanced attack.

“It was a great accomplishment not only for us as individuals and dual partner, but also as a golf team,” Daugherty said. “To see those results shows how much time and effort we put into this sport.”

The Tigers concluded the season winning first place at the Plainfield East invite.  Daugherty capped off a good score along with Moskaluk and Gilbert all rounding out the top spots at Wedgewood on Sept. 19.

“It was the best way to end the season on the high note and give us confidence going into regionals and sectionals,” Daugherty said.

Regionals for the Tigers began on Oct. 2 at Links of Carillon where the Tigers finished second, shot a 324.  This allowed them to advance to sectionals, and they hoped to send players to state.

“Being conference champs… making our first appearence in sectionals in five years is a lot to be proud of meaning we have to come out playing our best,” Shern said.

On Oct. 8 the Tigers moved on to sectionals at Barlett Hills.  North finished 11th out of twelve teams shooting a disheartening 339. The Tigers’ leading scorer was Daugherty who shot an 81.

“I was disappointed we didn’t make it out of sectionals,” Maletich said. “I thought our team had the skillset to make it out, but unfortunately, we didn’t play well like we did all season.”

Although the season came to a disappointing end for the Tigers, there are a lot of things to keep an eye out for next season and to feel accomplished about from this season.

The Tigers tied their own record from a season ago for most duo matches won with 21. In addition, the team was back-to-back SPC conference champions.

“The team took many positives from this season,” Farnan said. “We defended our conference title and made it to sectionals. Our team is still young, and we still have more to accomplish.”

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