Marriotts Ridge junior Faith McIlvain talks about the Mustangs victory over defending county-champion Howard at Fairway Hills on Thursday afternoon to open the 2018 season.
It was just one match, but Marriotts Ridge’s girls golf team made an early season statement on Thursday afternoon at Fairway Hills.
Junior Faith McIlvain led the charge with an even-par round of 27 points, featuring one birdie and one bogey, and the Mustangs cruised to a 54-25 victory over four-time defending county-champion Howard.
McIlvain said that the team’s performance, which also included 13 points from freshman Viola Kim and 11 from senior Julianna Dorsch, was everything she could have hoped for in the first official match of the season.
“It’s definitely amazing because Howard has been such a great team since four years [ago],” McIlvain said. “It was really fun, it was a really great start to our season and I think it’s really going to motivate us to keep working hard and keep helping each other as a team to do better.”
Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs said that having a player like McIlvain leading the way takes some of the pressure off the rest of the team. Last year, as a sophomore, she won the 1A/2A state championship tournament.
“After seeing what she had done all summer, I kind of expected this. She’s in another world, another zone than a lot of the kids we’ve seen and will see,” Dubbs said. “It’s just a matter of keeping that incline going up until we hit the end of October. That girl is something special, though.”
In the loss, Howard got a team-high 18 points from Logan Lurie.
As for McIlvain’s round, it could have been even better if not for the number of manageable putts that she saw skirt the edge of the hole. She narrowly missed putts inside of 15 feet for birdie on five of her nine holes, with the lone birdie putt that dropped coming on the par 5 fifth hole.
She failed to get up-and-down from just off the green on the par 4 seventh, resulting in her lone bogey.
Overall, she said she was pleased with her iron game after a self-proclaimed “slump” of late in that department.
“Recently, my dad helped me a little bit and my coach, so that really prepared me,” she said. “Honestly, my swing has gotten a lot better these last few days.”In the loss, Howard was led by 18 points from Logan Lurie. The Lions, which went undefeated each of the last two seasons, graduated the top two players — Jacqueline Cherry and Alex Abrams — from the 2017 squad.
Marriotts Ridge 54, Howard 25
MR (1-0): McIlvain 27, Kim 13, Dorsch 11, Bevins 3.
The Mustangs used consistent production from top to bottom to methodically pull away from the Lions in the opening county match of the season for both squads. Akash Marakath led the way with 24, points, while Manny Guillen and Daniel Tuma followed with rounds of 21 points apiece.
Howard was led in the loss by Jason Wheeler’s 21 points.
Marriotts Ridge had actually opened its season earlier in the week with a non-county victory over South Carroll at the Links at Challedon. Between the two performances, coach Mark Dubbs said he’s pleased with what he’s seeing so far.
“The kids have certainly bought into what we are trying to get done here and there is a lot of depth. Honestly, the hardest thing before the season was sitting down and figuring out who was going to play in what matches so that we could potentially qualify as many players as possible for counties,” Dubbs said. “It’s a good problem to have, though. Today we played four kids and we realistically have another four kids who didn’t play, but are capable of really contributing throughout the season. Overall, I’m very happy with where we are at.”
MR (1-0): Marakath 24, Guillen 21, Tuma 21, Kim 18.
Ho (0-1): Wheeler 21, Maynor 17, Sheth 14, Kassiri 13.