LYNN — The St. Mary’s golf team has gotten off to exactly the start it wanted to coming off a state championship in 2017, and the Spartans continued their strong start Tuesday afternoon by taking down Catholic Central League foe Archbishop Williams, 173-165, at Gannon Golf Course.
“It feels good to come out of the gate with a couple wins like this,” said St. Mary’s coach Jay Fiste, whose team is now 2-0. “The guys are getting better every day and we’ve been getting contributions from up and down the lineup, which is always good to see.”
While the Spartans sport a number of very strong players at the top of their lineup, it was actually the bottom half of the lineup that came up big for St. Mary’s against Williams as Owen Maguire, Pete Pagliuca and Nick Cicolini had great games in the No. 5, 6 and 7 spots in the lineup, respectively. Maguire put up 24 points, while Pagliuca scored 20 points and Cicolini contributed 19 points.
“Getting that many points from those guys was great and it’s what helped give us the edge, because the top half of the lineups played each other pretty close,” said Fiste. “But those guys (at the bottom of the lineup) are getting better each match. They all hit the ball well and can putt well at times, so now they just need to learn how to score a little more efficiently.”
And of course, St. Mary’s got solid production from the top four players in its lineup. Christian Emmerich led the way in scoring for the Spartans with 32 points, while Luke Smith contributed 29 points from the No. 2 spot. Aidan Emmerich added 25 points and Luke Sargent chipped in 24 points.
But even with the amount of points the top of the lineup scored, Williams was able to keep pace score for score throughout much of the match. That, Fiste thinks, could be a sign that the CCL will be a much more competitive league this year.
“Williams is definitely a better team this year, and I think the rest of the league has a chance to be pretty competitive,” Fiste said. “I hope it is, because that will only help us become better. When you go up against quality players and fight through tough matches, it all gives the guys valuable experience.”
Speaking of quality opponents, the Spartans face one in their next match when they take on Division 1 St. John’s Prep Thursday (3). It will be a bit of a different look for St. Mary’s, as the match will be played in a stroke play format with the top 6 scores from each team counting toward the total. The Spartans usually play in a stableford format with the top 7 scores counting toward the total.
The match, which takes place at Kernwood Country Club, will technically be played as a road game for St. Mary’s. But the Spartans do bring a little bit of an advantage into the match, as both Christian and Aidan Emmerich are members at Kernwood. In fact, Christian won the Kernwood Club Championship in August.
“It’s nice that we have that little bit of an advantage with those two guys, but for all our other players it will be a matter of getting comfortable out there,” Fiste said. “St. John’s is always a very strong team with good talent, so we’ll certainly need to bring our best game with us if we want to grab a win.”