MARBLEHEAD — In a battle of young teams on the fairways of Tedesco Country Club Thursday afternoon, it was the Swampscott golf team that came away with a 41-31 victory over Marblehead in an early-season Northeastern Conference tilt. Despite not winning either of the top two matches on the day, Swampscott was able to garner enough points from the rest of its roster to take home the victory.
“This was a much better showing for us than our first game of the year against Beverly (Tuesday),” said Swampscott coach Jason Knowles. “The guys were more composed out there and you could see it in things like their short games, which were really good all afternoon.”
Winners for Swampscott were Lou Spellios in the No. 3 match (5 1/2-3 1/2), Aidan Tierney in the No. 4 match (6 1/2-2 1/2), Nate Stern in the No. 5 match (6-3), Brendan Sheehan in the No. 6 match (5 1/2-3 1/2), Nate Maercklin in the No. 7 match (5 1/2-3 1/2) and Will Roddy in the No. 8 match (6 1/2-2 1/2).
For Marblehead, junior Ben Weed was the lone winner after shooting a 1-over 35 and taking the No. 1 match 8-1. Freshman Matt Weed — Ben’s younger brother — tied his match in the No. 2 spot 4 1/2-4 1/2.
The Magicians, who are already introducing a number of new players to this year’s lineup, were also without their regular No. 2 player in senior Gavin Lundgren, who was on a college visit.
“It’s always tough when you’re bringing in a lot of new players, let alone when you’re missing one of the few players who has experience,” said Marblehead coach Bob Green. “We basically had seven kids shifting up one spot in the rotation, and some of those kids have never played in a varsity golf match. So it was tough, but the kids gave it a good effort.”
While the shift didn’t necessarily work out for Marblehead in terms of getting a win, Green sees the roster shuffling as a net positive moving forward.
“We only had three returners and one of them was an alternate last year, so we have a lot of young players,” said Green. “Looking down the road, it’s a positive to get them as much experience as possible. We have to look at this in more of a big-picture way.”
That thought process is bolstered by the fact that Marblehead has one of the biggest golf programs in the area, with 25 kids signing up to play this season. By comparison, Gloucester — who Marblehead played in its season opener Tuesday — only had nine players sign up.
“It was great to see so many kids come out to sign up this year,” said Green. “It bodes well for our program going forward, but it’s a shame to see other teams in the area not have great numbers. I hope to have a part in helping to change it, because these are the people who will be members at our clubs and who will be teaching their kids the game in years to come. This is a lifelong game, and it’s important to have kids stick with it.”
Knowles, whose Big Blue only saw 12 players sign up this year, wants to take positives out of the situation as well.
“The fact that all of these young kids are getting experience in actual matches is definitely a positive,” Knowles said. “Sure, it’s not ideal to have a team full of players who are still learning to compete, but sometimes that happens in high school sports. Having these guys learn how to control their nerves and deal with pressure now will help us down the line.”
As for the game between the ropes, Marblehead (1-1) goes on the road to take on a strong Beverly team up at Beverly Golf & Tennis Club Tuesday.
“I think Beverly is one of the stronger teams in the area because they returned the most players from last year,” said Green. “They have depth that we simply don’t have. But we’ll keep working on things and try to tackle another tough golf course on Tuesday.”
Swampscott (1-1) is back in action Wednesday (4) against Salem at Olde Salem Greens.
“We’ve just got to keep focusing on the mental and finesse aspects of the game,” Knowles said. “Our guys get off the tee really well, but they’ll really be able to put the pressure on teams if they can have a good short game and continue to get up-and-down from off the green. That’s what we’ll be focusing on moving forward.”