April 11, 2014
DEKALB. Ill. - The Northern Illinois University women's golf team looks to build momentum heading into the Mid-American Conference Championship as it heads to Bowling Green, Ohio to compete in the Dolores Black Falcon Invitational at Stone Ridge Golf Club Saturday.
The final tournament before the conference championship, NIU is coming off a third-place finish at the Bradley Invitational last weekend. It's the fifth-straight year the Huskies will be competing in Bowling Green's home event. Last year, NIU finished in fifth with a 645, its lowest score in that tournament. NIU has finished as high as fourth, in 2010 (652) and in the weather-shortened 2011 (333) event.
"We've had an issue with not finishing tournaments the way we should," said NIU head coach Kim Kester. "Putting everything together this weekend and carrying it over into the MAC Championship is the goal for this weekend."
Joining NIU and Bowling Green are fellow MAC competitors Akron, Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Ohio as well as in-state foes Chicago State, UIC and Western Illinois. Cleveland State, Detroit, IPFW, Oakland, South Dakota State and Bowling Green's B-team make up the rest of the 15-team field.
Freshmen Lena Gautier (La Celle Saint Cloud, France/Creteil) and Sydney Brickey (Burtchville, Mich./Shattuck-St. Mary's) and sophomore Connie Ellett (Hampshire, Ill./Hampshire) lead the way for the Huskies. Gautier, who is averaging a team-best 77.3, posted her first career top-10 finish after placing ninth at the Bradley Invitational. Brickey is averaging 78.5, while Ellett is at 78.8.
Sophomore Samantha Coyne (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) and senior Jenny Niemiec (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) are having solid seasons as well. Coyne is averaging 79.9 in 18 rounds of golf, while Niemiec is at an even 80 in 21 rounds of play.
"Everyone wants to be No. 1," Kester said. "Jenny wants it just as much as Lena wants it. Sydney wants it just as much as Connie, the same with Sam. They all push each other. They're always wondering how everyone is doing."
The 15-team field will play single rounds on both Saturday and Sunday. Play begins with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. CT on Saturday and concludes with an 8:30 a.m. CT shotgun start on Sunday.