April 21, 2009
BALTIMORE - The Loyola College golf team couldn't have picked a more ideal time to defend their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship from a season ago. On the heels of their first win of the season coming Sunday at the Detroit Titans Invitational , the Greyhounds now shift their attention to the conference championships at the Celebration Golf Course in Orlando, Fla. The 54-hole event lasts from Friday until Sunday, with the teams playing 18 holes daily.
"Obviously it was good to get a win last week in Detroit and to be able to carry some momentum into this tournament," said Loyola Head Coach Tom Beidleman, who has four MAAC Championship titles under his belt.
"Our job, though, is to maintain focus and to try to continue to reach our goals."Loyola tees off at 8:15 a.m. Friday and is paired with Siena and Iona in the nine-team field. They will play a practice round Thursday evening.
The Greyhounds will send out a lineup of senior Mike Mulieri, freshman Jay Mulieri, sophomore Alex Redfearn, junior Keith Hall and freshman Ryan McCarthy. Only two of those golfers--Mike Mulieri and Redfearn--played in the MAAC Championship last year, but each brings a wealth of experience and skill to the table, particularly Mulieri.
The reigning MAAC Golfer of the Year, Mulieri won this event last year with a five-under 211 to lead the Greyhounds to their 10th conference title at the Magnola Golf Course in Walt Disney World. Entering the final-round with a 6-stroke lead, the Greyhounds carded 279 on Sunday to finish with a three-day total of 879. It was their first conference title since the Hounds won three straight from 2003-2005.Redfearn posted rounds of 79-75-74 (228) to finish tied for 14th in the event, as four of Loyola's five players finished in the Top-15.
Beidleman said that that the par-72, 6,816 yard Celebration Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr., sets up well for his team. He added that the first few holes are very open and accessible for pars, which should allow his lineup to get adapted before facing some of the more challenging holes on the back-side of the course.
This past Sunday, the Greyhounds won their first event of the 2008-09 season at the Detroit Titans Invitational in Plymouth, Mich. The Greyhounds carded a cumulative score of 894, seven strokes ahead of second-place University of Dayton and nine strokes ahead of third-place winners Butler University and defending champion, University of Detroit Mercy.
Redfearn and McCarthy tied for tenth place with aggregate rounds of 224, while Jay Mulieri finished in 12th at 225 with Hall just a stroke behind. Mike Mulieri battled sickness throughout the weekend.
The Greyhounds will depart Baltimore on Thursday morning with the hopes of extending their season and making a return trip to the NCAA Regionals.
"This is not a typical weekend. If we lose then our season is over, if we win then we keep playing," said Beidleman. "Every team in the field raises their game for this tournament and I'm really relying on our experience and poise to carry us."