|Vandals third at WAC|
MESA, Ariz. - The University of Idaho women's golf team gained ground on the leaders at the Club Glove Western Athletic Conference Championship Tournament but it wasn't quite enough has the Vandals fell just shy and wound up third.
"It's frustrating to lose by two strokes, even knowing that we gave it our best effort," said coach Lisa Johnson, who was honored as the league's Coach of the Year, while sophomore Kayla Mortellaro earned the WAC Player of the Year award.
"We handled the tough weather conditions on the back nine better than most teams and shot the low round of the lead groups today. I applaud our team for playing hard until the end. All the credit goes to Hawai'i and San Jose for out-playing us over 54 holes."
The Vandals trailed leader - and eventual champion- San Jose State by five strokes heading into the final 18 holes Wednesday. They closed to within one at one point during the round but couldn't quite push to the top.
Mortellaro, the second-day leader, wound up in a tie with teammate Amanda Jacobs for third. Both had 54-hole total 225 with Mortellaro closing with a 78 and Jacobs a 77. Both earned first-team all-WAC honors, while sophomore Teo Poplawski was a second-team selection after finishing 16th. A closing round 74 gave her a 54-hole 234. Also for the Vandals, Annika Karlsson was tied for 24th at 240 and Frida Nilsson tied for o29th with a 243.
"I couldn't be more proud of Kayla," Johnson said. "She played phenomenal golf during the regular season and was far and away the best player in the WAC all year. Her achievement is testament to her hard work, focus and consistency as a player.
"It's wonderful to see Amanda finish strongly at the WAC Championship and earn first-team honors. She has been a strong leader and consistent golfer during her entire four years at Idaho. Teo is very deserving of second-team honors. She contributed many solid rounds of golf this year, and she recorded one of the best rounds during the final round of WAC."
The Vandals now await the NCAA selection committee's regional choices.
"We are hopeful for an opportunity to compete at the NCAA Regional tournament in May," Johnson said. "We will build off our experiences at WAC in preparation."