BERLIN - Coming off a disappointing loss to Conard on Tuesday, the Berlin girls golf team wanted to get back on track on Wednesday against New Britain.
The Redcoats accomplished their mission, cruising to a 218-273 victory over the Hurricanes despite being without Sydney Duke, one of the team’s top golfers, who was out with a back injury.
“I think they settled down,” Berlin head coach Jim Barnes said of the bounceback victory. “They all seemed to be hitting the ball better today.”
Jessica Nappi led all scorers with a 49 for the Redcoats (6-3), earning the match medal behind a pair of pars on the back nine at Timberlin Golf Club in Berlin. After Nappi sunk a clutch putt for par on the 11th hole, she dropped a tee shot just short of the green on 12, but settled for a bogey in an improved effort from her performances earlier in the week.
“I think I played decent with the way I’ve played the last couple days,” Nappi said. “There were a couple holes I messed up on, but I played OK.”
Nappi’s 49 was 15 strokes ahead of New Britain’s best finishers in Kendra Levesque and Leah Gaffney, who each ended the day with a 64.
“I did terrible,” Levesque said. “I don’t think I was focused.”
On the positive side for the winless Hurricanes (0-6), Liya Seccente entered the match as New Britain’s fifth golfer, but finished third-best on the team with a 68, overcoming a rough first hole to end with one of her better finishes of the season.
“It went well,” Seccente said. “It was a lot of fun. I hit really well with my 5-iron today which is kind of surprising. It was a great day for golf.”
Aside from Seccente, the feel around the Hurricanes was a sense of disappointment, as the rest of the team believed it could have turned in a better performance on what was a perfect spring day for golf, a drastic turnaround from the wet and chilly weather that plagued much of the early parts of the season.
“I don’t think I did that well,” New Britain’s Abby Olson said after shooting a 77. “It felt like an off day and I could have done a lot better. My putting was not very good.”
Olson’s 77 was matched by teammate Morgan Giantonio, who struggled on the ninth and 12th holes to set her back early.
“It wasn’t my best,” Giantonio said. “It could have been better. I guess my head wasn’t in it today.”
Like her opponent in Olson, Berlin’s Rachel Varley had her own trouble on the greens, though she was able to ride the rest of her game to a respectable final score of 51, capped off by an impressive par on the 18th hole to end her afternoon on a high note.
Still, Varley missed an opportunity for another par on the 12th hole, where she reached the green in two shots but settled for a double bogey after a number of missed putts.
“I feel like I could have taken off a few strokes around the green,” Varley said. “Other than that, I did pretty well.”
Bridget McQuillan finished with a 58 to come in third for the Redcoats, while Jenna Smalley, finding herself in the lineup with the absence of Duke, put together a solid performance with a score of 60, thanks to a number of impressive tee shots that managed to find the fairway.
“I hit my driver very well today, which was pretty surprising,” Smalley said.
Smalley rounded out Berlin’s top four, which took down New Britain in head-to-head action for the 14th time in a row, increasing its winning streak over the Hurricanes, which dates back to 2007. For the Redcoats, the win wasn’t quite as encouraging as their team-best performance against Newington on Monday, but it was a step back in the right direction, especially with one of their key contributors on the sideline.
“That hurt,” Barnes said of the absence of Duke. “She’s clearly one of our top players, but I really like what I saw today.”