The Middlebury women's golf team heads into the 2017-18 campaign poised to make a run at the NESCAC Championship, as the Panthers welcome back all but one player from last year's roster. Middlebury finished in the top five in each of the eight tournaments it teed off in, including a runner-up performance at the conference championship last season.
Veteran head coach Bill Mandigo, the 2016-17 NESCAC Coach of the Year, enters his 10th season at the helm of the program. The Panthers lost only one player to graduation, while an influx of newcomers gives the team a positive outlook heading into the fall portion of the schedule.
Senior Katharine Fortin was a catalyst for the Panthers last season, finishing in the top-10 four times, while earning All-NESCAC First Team honors for the second-straight year. She tied for medalist honors at the season-opening Utica Invitational with a year-best score of 152 (76-76) and had a season-best 154 at the New York University Invitational.
Sophomore Chloe Levins will be looked upon as a consistent scorer after a solid initial season. She tallied a season-best total of 150 (74-76), claiming medalist and first-team all-conference honors during the NESCAC Championship in early October.
Sophomore Blake Yaccino, a Second-Team All-NESCAC selection in 2016-17, fired a two-day mark of 153, including a 74 on day two to wind up sixth at the Mount Holyoke Invitational.
Others who contributed in the lineup last season were senior Hope Matthews and junior Helen Dailey. Matthews cracked the top 20 in four tournaments last year, firing a campaign low 157 during the Utica Invitational, tying for runner-up honors. Two weeks later, she shot a first-round 77 on her way to a 20th-place tie at the Mount Holyoke Invitational. Dailey played in all but one event last year, tying for 11th place at the Utica Invitational. Senior Sarah Breckinridge will also battle for a spot in the lineup along with a first-year player.
The Panthers open the fall portion of the season in New York at the St. Lawrence Invitational on September 9-10. The following week, Middlebury travels to Massachusetts for the Ann S. Batchelder Invitational hosted by Wellesley. The team is at Mount Holyoke the following weekend before hosting the George Phinney Golf Classic on September 30 and October 1. The Panthers conclude the fall portion with NESCAC Championship on October 7-8 hosted by Williams.