Seniors key to J.P. Stevens on links

For the J.P. Stevens High School girls golf team, the season’s first month has been one to remember. The Hawks wrapped up the first four weeks with a 12-1 record, boosted by the play of a trio of seniors who have played at the varsity level for the last three seasons.

Sophia Chen, Jen Kim and Kim Wu have carried the banner for J.P. Stevens this spring, much like they have since breaking into the Hawks’ starting lineup as freshmen.

“The three seniors are good role models and mentors for the younger girls,” coach Patty Savulich said. “Sophia has already qualified for the state individual tournament and both Jen and Kim are very close to doing the same.”

Along with the three senior leaders, Paulina Lee and Kobj Dent have helped round out the Hawks’ roster, adding depth to an already potent lineup. J.P. Stevens’ only loss came at the hands of Westfield on the season’s second day and, although they hung tight with the Blue Devils, Savulich said her girls were crushed by the defeat.

“We lost by only six strokes, which was heartbreaking for the girls,” she said. “But some of the girls learned a hard lesson; if you want to play well, you need to practice more.”

Since that defeat, the Hawks have rattled off 10 consecutive victories, including a commanding 186-260 decision against Bishop Ahr their last time out. Savulich has seen her squad’s averages trending down, which in golf is the way you want them to go, and that’s been encouraging for her as the season progresses.

“Some of our younger players’ handicaps are trending down and with a little more experience, both on the course and at the range, should create a good foundation for the future,” Savulich said.

Colonia boys flying high

For the Colonia boys golf team, the main goal all season has been to finish what they’ve started — reach the Greater Middlesex County Tournament finals and the State Tournament’s finals.

According to coach Jeff Holmes, whatever the Patriots accomplish in the regular season is just getting them primed for the postseason.

“We’re playing well so far and we have compiled a nice record,” Holmes said. “But losing to Monroe on Tuesday was tough for us. We get another crack at them next week, so we’d like to avenge that loss.”

In dual matches this spring, the Patriots boast a record full of victories, 14 of them to be exact, to overshadow that one loss. Holmes’ squad returned all but one player from last season’s team, giving them a lot of experience heading into 2013.

A core of three seniors, Mike Orak, Justin Rasmus and Bruce Thome, have buoyed Colonia to the top of the GMC standings, while junior Rob Coffman and sophomore Brendan Demitus have chipped in as well.

Holmes knows that there is still a lot in front of his experienced group and that they need not worry about individual performances down the stretch; he wants his players focused on winning the team titles.

“We want to achieve a lot as a team and get to the finals of the GMCT and states,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for in the rest of our season.”

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