By Phil Dailey
Every team has its standout players or athletes, and for this year’s La Jolla High School girls golf team, it’s no different. But what is different is the team approach that has been implemented by first-year head coach Joey Chang.
That team-first approach has led to the Vikings’ fast start, one that has them undefeated in 10 matches this season.
“Joey is a great coach, he’s very motivational,” said Juliette Garay, one of only two seniors on the team this season.
There’s no question that this team gets a total team effort and it comes from not only upperclassmen, but from the team’s freshmen and sophomores.
“Our coach is really helpful, he sends us e-mails and sets goals that we want to accomplish as a team,” sophomore Marisa Liang said. “So I think that’s helped us.”
For Daniella Anastasi, she and two other freshmen have been thrust into the fast-pace of high school and playing sports. The Vikings just finished up playing 11 matches in 14 schools days on Tuesday.
“It’s been an extreme adjustment,” Anastasi said.
With schoolwork and golf, like other high school athletes, their day sometimes ends in the wee hours of the night. But you wouldn’t know it by the way they play on the golf course.
The success of the team has also come from the addition of some of the new players.
“It helps, even one better score improves the team a lot,” Garay said.
And that’s what Chang has stressed. Playing together. Playing as a team.
“We talk about the whole team,” Chang said. “We’re gonna win as a team.”
Which is exactly what they have been able to do.
Just this past week, the Vikings won all three of their matches against University City, Coronado and Scripps Ranch to push their season record to 10-0.
Winning now is great, but the goal for this group is to make it to CIF as a team.
“The thing is, last year we were all playing individually and this year we’re actually working as a team,” said Liang, who shot a team-low 41 on Monday at Torrey Pines South.
Though the team’s stretch of tough matches is behind them, they will get a gauge of just how good they are when they play one of the county’s top golf teams in Our Lady of Peace on Monday.
“I think OLP will be our big match, we are pretty neck-and-neck,” Garay said.
The team will have seven more matches in the month of October before CIF.
“They have a goal of making it to CIF,” Chang said, “and that’s something I want to help with.”