Unfortunately for the Jeffs, their recent plaudits came too late to swoon any potential recruits, leaving the team with no new blood to replace the loss of senior co-captains Meg Sullivan and Sarah Godwin and their classmate and key contributor Emily Foran. This leaves Amherst in the unenviable position of sporting a five-woman roster coming into the new year.
While the team looks for recruits among the current student body, the Jeffs can take solace in the fact that the returning players have each seen action in the past, all five winning singles matches against Williams College in the final week of the 2005 spring. Their key returner will be junior Sarah Harper, the only non-senior to lead the Jeffs at a tournament last year. The 6’1″ Minnesota native was named an All-American scholar by the National Golf Coaches of America during the summer. By her side will be senior Melissa Sidman and three sophomores: Kristin Beneski, Ali Berman and Katherine Kelly.
“Having just graduated three seniors, we are short on players and are looking at this as a rebuilding year,” said Sidman. “Meg [Sullivan] has really been the heart and soul of the team for the past four years, so it’ll be a major challenge to replace her both as a player who consistently shot low scores as well as a team leader.”
Although the team is quick to sing the praises of yesterday’s stars, they are excited by the return of one piece of 2002’s winning recipe-Head Coach Michelle Morgan. Coach Morgan enters her 28th year at the College and 15th with the women’s golf team. “I’m very excited to have Coach Morgan return,” said Harper. “From past seniors, I hear that she’s an amazing leader and knows quite a bit about the game.”
“She’s done so much for women’s golf over the years and should provide a sense of stability for a team that hasn’t been particularly steady going through three different head coaches in three years,” echoed Sidman.
Stability is just what the doctor ordered for a team with so much uncertainty. Hopefully, the leadership of Morgan, Harper and Sidman can mold the trio from the class of 2008 into a repeat of the recently-departed class of 2005.