Sept. 12, 2008
Denver, Colo. - The Loyola golf team begins defense of its 2008 MAAC Championship and NCAA Championship appearance beginning Monday when it takes on a highly competitive field at the 2008 Ron Moore Invitational being played at the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver, Colo.
The success achieved last year will be a motivating factor to reach those same heights for this year's team. Graduated are four-year players Matt Bassler and Chris Derby, key components to the championship run last year. But returning is MAAC Championship medalist Mike Mulieri, who takes over the leadership role both on and off the course, and classmate Mike O'Keefe and sophomore Alex Redfearn, each of whom played for the Greyhounds on that championship weekend. Rounding out the quintet for the first event of the new season are junior Keith Hall and freshman Jay Mulieri, Mike's younger brother. Rounding out the roster are freshmen Patrick McCormick and Ryan McCarthy, each of whom will play in the season's second event at Cape Cod, Mass.
"This week and the following week will determine, to me, who will move forward in the starting lineup," Greyhounds eighth-year head coach Tom Beidleman said of the season-opening events. "I know what I will be getting from Mike [Mulieri]. I'll be looking at those 2-5 spots and in particular 2-4 to show me performance. All of those guys saw considerable action last year and this is a great opportunity to lay claim to their positions."
It is expected that Mike Mulieri will be locked into the No. 1 spot all season long after being the top player at the MAAC Championship last April and then being named the MAAC's Male Student-Athlete of the Year by the conference's membership during the summer. Younger brother Jay will blend in as the No. 5 player for the first two events. Redfearn, O'Keefe, and Hall are slotted 2 through 4 for the Denver event with McCormick and McCarthy replacing O'Keefe and Hall in two weeks.
"This stretch will flush out some of the question marks," Beidleman said. "This play will give me a better understanding of what the starting five will look [for the rest of the year]."
The field this weekend will be one of the more competitive fields the Greyhounds have played in the opening event. That fact and the travel led Beidleman to bring a more veteran team.
The Greyhounds and Campbell College are the only teams among the 17-team field to reside east of the Mississippi River, a field that includes three other teams besides Loyola that participated in the 2008 NCAA Championships. In addition to Colorado, which joined the Greyhounds at the Central Regional, New Mexico State participated 12th in the East and host Denver finished 23rd in the West.
"This is the best field to start a season since I have been here and there are some different teams than we would ordinarily see," Beidleman said. "I wanted to take more upperclassmen because of the travel and their experiences. This is our most veteran team."