Western Courier

Coach just hoping for intelligent play

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Coach just hoping for intelligent play

Tom Loftus sports editor

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Lia Biehl Lukkarinen isn’t expecting her players to be brilliant, but she is counting on them to be smart.

The seventh-year head coach of the Western Illinois women’s golf team knows that her club is young and relatively inexperienced, so putting pressure on them to perform beyond their capabilities this spring isn’t part of the Leatherneck coach’s game plan.

“They’re putting enough pressure on themselves to perform,” Biehl Lukkarinen said. “They’re all competitive. They all want to play. You can’t think about the numbers — you just have to play your best.”

Biehl Lukkarinen went on to say that as long as her players use their heads, their progress on the links will come.

“My big thing is, let’s make smart decisions,” the Leathernecks coach said. “Let’s think smart, and think right, and relax and play golf, and kind of let things unfold. Control what we control, and not worry about the rest.”

Western returns junior Alexa Arent and sophomore Kristi Tschudin this season, but will sorely miss the presence of veterans Emily Brink (out with an injury) and the now-graduated Claire Gursch, Tara Peterman and Lindsay Wandrey.

“We’re just young, we have a lot of potential,” Biehl Lukkarinen said. “Let ‘em grow up, and see what happens.” Arent, who is from Appleton, Wis., placed sixth at the Western Illinois Autumn Invitational last October, followed by Tschudin in ninth. Tschudin, a Swansea, Ill. native, also placed 12th (at the Butler Fall Invitational) and seventh (at the Ball State Cardinal Classic) during the falls season.

“Kristi is a great ball striker, and a great player,” Biehl Lukkarinen said.

Other players who the Leathernecks coach will be looking for improvement from this spring include seniors Samantha Hainline and Jaleesa Burton; junior Kelsea Visalli; and freshmen Abby Ball, Ashley Jeffers, Jessica Knepp and Nikki Tatham.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Coach just hoping for intelligent play