Butler soon will have to face a difficult question: Just how good can this team be without the leadership of Michele Nash? The senior has been an integral part of the team for three and a half years, and with one semester of collegiate golf left, she gets the ultimate honor from head coach Bill Mattingly.
“If she keeps it up, I would probably say that she’s the best player that’s played at Butler,” he said, referencing a much more difficult competition schedule now than when he first arrived at the school five years ago to a team that had won four straight Horizon League Championships.
Nash ended last season by winning the conference championship and earning subsequent Horizon League Player of the Year honors. She qualified for NCAA regionals as an individual and was third on the leaderboard after Round 1. She was in contention to earn a ticket to the national championship until the bitter end – she went 5 over in the final seven holes.
Mattingly calls Nash a good inspriation to this team — which is talented in its own right. Butler started the fall with three team titles.
“We had a reasonably good chance of winning our fourth tournament in a row and had a couple bad finishes on the round,” Mattingly said. “Our last tournament up in Memphis was a little bit of a let-down.”
Butler finished sixth and 10th in its final two fall events.
Despite the success, Mattingly isn’t taking for granted a Horizon League win (Butler has won the AQ out of the conference five of the past seven years, including last year), but he’s cautiously aware of the leg up this year’s team would have after last year’s experience.
“I would definitely anticipate that they wouldn’t be quite so awed by the competition as they were last year,” he said.
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Top of the class: Butler
Best player in the fall: Michele Nash
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2009: Youngstown State
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