2009 Golf Preview
A new era begins for the University of La Verne golf team, but for first-year head coach Joe Skovron, the goal is to continue the success of the recent years.
The retirement of iconic head coach Rex Huigens led to the hiring of Joe Skovron, a Leopard alum and former SCIAC Player of the Year. The good news is that the Leopards return a solid group of players who can continue the high expectations set forth from previous years. As a result, Skovron envisions a successful campaign in 2009.
La Verne placed ninth at last year's NCAA Championships, following up on a SCIAC Championship campaign in which the Leopards went unbeaten in each of its conference matches.
"I'm extremely positive about this season," said Skovron, who inherits three First Team All-SCIAC performers. We've got a good core of guys who've played at the NCAA Championships and have the experience to compete at a high level."
Leading the way is senior Rizal Amin, a two-time All-American and the 2008 Co-SCIAC Player of the Year. Amin placed 23rd on the individual standings at last season's NCAA Division III Championships and should again be among the nation's best. Amin appears ready for the upcoming season after winning the Inland Empire Amateur Tournament during the fall.
The junior duo of Andrew Kramer and Mitch Fedorka also competed at the national championships and are poised for strong campaigns. Both players earned First Team All-SCIAC honors and should provide the Leopard squad with stability and leadership for yet another run towards a conference championship.
Additionally, the Leopards return sophomore Kevin Smith, who was last season was named the 2008 SCIAC Freshman of the Year after a stellar rookie campaign. Sophomore transfer Eric Bunge could also factor in the Leopards' roster along with fellow sophs Matt Bernal and Ryan Waring.
La Verne will attempt to capture another conference crown, but will be challenged by a Redlands squad that finished in the runner-up position at last year's NCAA championships. CMS, Cal Lutheran and Pomona-Pitzer could also provide challenges.
"We try to focus on the progress and hope that the results will come," says Skovron. "Obviously we'd like to think we're one of the top teams in the nation and one of our goals again this season is to make some noise at the NCAAs."