Golf teams are set to tee off their fall season

When the days get a little bit shorter and the weather gets a little bit cooler it means one thing: the St. John’s golf teams are ready to grip it and rip it.

Men’s Golf

The men’s team, led by junior co-captains Mike Ballo Jr. and Even Beirne, has already received Top-25 votes in the latest Golf World/ NIKE Golf Division I Coaches’ Poll. As much as an accomplishment as that is, head coach Frank Darby knows his guys just want to keep winning.

“It really is an honor to get that recognition for the program,” Darby said. “This early in the season you might be a little suspect of the rankings, but my guys are just all about winning.”

Last season the Red Storm concluded a successful year in which they ended the season receiving Top-25 votes for the first time in the program’s history. With defending Big East Champion Marquette, as well as Louisville, also receiving Top-25 votes, Darby knows his team will have to work hard, but likes its chances.

“I think we have an honest chance to make it to the NCAA Championships,” Darby said. “You never know what happens when you get there; sometimes you get on a roll and go.”

“Our goal is to make the NCAA tournament,” Ballo, Jr. said. “Hopefully while picking up some team and individual victories along the way.”

As individual of a sport as golf is, there is still a team chemistry concept that has to be established, something that Ballo, Jr. believes his team possesses.

“We are a really close knit team,” Ballo Jr. said. “Along with how tight we are, we are really talented. The kids on this team can really play.”

Darby couldn’t agree more with his captain, who is currently ranked 143rd in the Golfstat Cup Rankings, the group that’s responsible for collegiate golf statistics.

“They are not only good players,” Darby said. “They are great young men as well.”

Women’s Golf

With high hopes for the men’s team this year, the St. John’s women’s golf team is more than eager to get back on the tee box for the upcoming fall season.

Coming off a season in which they finished fourth at the Big East Championships, head coach Ambry Bishop-LaRosa is looking for her team to play even better.

“Last season was an up-and-down year,” Bishop-LaRosa said. “Finishing in the middle of the pack was good, but there is always room for improvement.”

This year’s Red Storm will compete without a single senior and features five juniors, as well as one freshman. Although, these girls have something not many teams in the country have: camaraderie.

“They get along very well, which is hard for a group of girls to do,” Bishop-LaRosa said.

No captains have been named for the upcoming season, but juniors Renee Cloutier and Lois Kim figure to lead the Red Storm, especially after losing scoring leader Brittany Lambertson.

In her fifth season as St. John’s women’s golf head coach, Bishop-LaRosa likes the makeup of her team, and would like to see each player progress.

“This is going to be a very interesting year,” Bishop-LaRosa said. “I would really love to see the girls improve from last season and play really well.”

While the men’s season is all ready underway, the ladies don’t begin play until Sept. 20. Both teams are excited to get back on the links and are poised for big years.