It was a solid day for the Marshall girls golf team and a rough one for the Tiger boys on a cold Monday afternoon in New Ulm.
In a dual with the Eagles, the Marshall girls posted a team score of 391 to defeat New Ulm by 82 strokes. And just two days after shooting a 299 to win the Marshall Class AA Invitational, the Marshall boys scrambled their way to a score of 334 on Monday, losing to the Eagles by six strokes.
Breezy conditions and temperatures in the low 40s didn't seem to slow down the Tiger girls. They improved their score from Saturday's invitational by 14 strokes, led by rounds of 91 from Jessica Blanchard and Kirsten Webskowski. Blanchard missed Saturday's competition for speech, and Marshall girls coach Nancy Blanchard said her daughter was eager to get out on the course on Monday, even with the cold conditions.
"They knew it was going to be cold and they dressed for it. I think they were just anxious to play," Nancy Blanchard said. "I think Jessica was anxious to get back out there, and Kirsten has been coming around the last couple days and she was anxious to see what she could do, too. I think they got through the round and didn't let the cold get to them."
Laura Mitlyng, who missed Marshall's tournament on Saturday to take the ACT, had the Tigers' third-best score Monday with a 104. Allie Pogatchinik and Sarah Vogl each shot 105.
Nancy Blanchard was pleased with how her golfers handled the New Ulm course, especially with how Jessica Blanchard and Webskowski approached their round.
"I think, for the most part, they played pretty smart," Nancy Blanchard said. "Kirsten has always had a pretty good short game. Today, she had her tee shots going a good distance and pretty straight and she continued her good play with her short game.
"And Jessica just played very steady. She doesn't put up too many big numbers. She just played her game."
It was a difficult day for the Tiger boys to find their game. Marshall had finished ahead of New Ulm by 22 strokes on Saturday, but Monday was a struggle.
No Marshall boys player shot below 80 while the team posted what boys head coach Allen Lucht said was the worst score he had seen from them in a long time.
Max Deutz led the Tigers with a round of 80. Alex Buysse had Marshall's next-best score with an 84, while Matt Bennett and Brett Haukom each shot 85. Marcus Holmberg finished with an 86, and Jacob Baker shot a 93.
Lucht said the conditions were "pretty miserable" for golf, but added that his kids are "Minnesota tough" and that the cold temperatures weren't what caused the team to have a rough round.
"I just think they weren't ready to travel yet," said Lucht, whose Tigers were competing in their first road dual of the season. "I wanted to a day or two to get them ready for another course.
"What I was afraid of was being complacent playing at home. We had our dukes down in this and it wasn't much fun to watch."
Lucht said the course is tricky in that it is unforgiving for golfers who miss greens long. He said the Tigers missed greens long a few times and paid with big scores, then allowed that to get into their heads and started leaving approach shots short.
For a team that has aspirations to get back to the Class AA state tournament, Lucht said he doesn't see the Tigers having trouble regrouping from their rough early-season outing.
"It's been quite a while since we've had a score that high," Lucht said, "but I'm sure they'll bounce back. I don't think they'll have any problem with that. Maybe it'll be good for them to get a little kick in the pants.
"It might make them pay more attention and focus more on each shot. When you become successful like we have, it's easy to start looking outside instead of staying inside. They just need to get back to playing inside themselves."
The Tiger boys will get a chance to redeem themselves today when the Marshall boys and girls travel to Jackson for a dual with Jackson County Central.
Boys Team Scores: New Ulm 328, Marshall 334
Marshall Individual Scores: Max Deutz 80, Matt Bennett 85, Brett Haukom 85, Marcus Holmberg 86, Jacob Baker 93, Alex Buysse 84.
Girls Team Scores: Marshall 391, New Ulm 473
Marshall Individual Scores: Jessica Blanchard 91, Kirsten Webskowski 91, Laura Mitlyng 104, Allie Pogatchinik 105, Sarah Vogl 105, Sydney Hey 126.