Men's spring preview: MAAC
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the 2014 spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the MAAC:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Monmouth
• Player to watch: Brady Goodling, Monmouth. The junior won two tournaments in the fall.
• Freshman to watch: Cory Cullen, Canisius. As the top freshman on a young Canisius team, Cullen will have to step up in the spring after a solid fall.
• Conference championship: April 25-27, Disney’s Palm GC, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
• Past champions (since 2009): Loyola-Maryland (2009-2013)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Canisius (268): The reigning champs have moved on to the Patriot League (Loyola), and now the conference is up for grabs. Canisius, a young team that is composed entirely of underclassmen, finished the fall on a positive note with a fourth-place finish at the rain-shortened Binghamton Invitational. The team posted four top-10 showings in the fall. But can the young roster rise to the occasion in the spring?
- Monmouth (269): Monmouth won the ECAC Championships and played to a T-4 finish at the Seton Hall Invitational in the fall. Junior Brady Goodling led the team with a 74.8 scoring average. Goodling took medalist honors at the Iona Quad Match and the ECAC Championships. Monmouth’s golfers have seen individual success – four different players nabbed a top-10 finish this fall – but against lesser competition, as only two players shot a round at par or better.
- St. Peter’s (270): Eric Edmunds, who finished T-11 at last year’s MAAC Championship, returns for his junior year to lead Saint Peter’s. The team notched a fifth-place finish at the Blue Devil Invitational, with Edmunds and teammate Nicholas Dilio finishing T-6.
- Iona (278): Iona led the MAAC championship through two days last season and finished in third. This year, it returns only one player from the tournament, losing Dylan Newman and Doug Hoppe, who earned top-3 finishes individually. Despite the losses, the reins are being turned over to upperclassmen, as juniors Taylor Bellamere and Evan DeLuca led the team in the fall.
- Fairfield (279): Fairfield sent Steve Burak to the NCAA Tournament last season after he shot two rounds in the 60s and won the MAAC individual title. But Burak won’t be on the course for Fairfield this year, as he opted to spend the fall semester abroad. With Burak’s absence, the Stags saw contributions from freshmen Alex Ferrante and Conner Beakey. Fairfield’s best finish this fall was second place in a five-team tournament.
- Siena (280): Like most of the teams in the MAAC, Siena did not light up any tournaments in the fall. The team’s best finish was fourth at the Lehigh Invitational. No golfers for Siena posted a scoring average below 76. Sophomore Michael Shine was the only player on roster to play to a top-10 finish individually, with a T-6 at the Lehigh Invitational and a T-8 at the Cornell Invitational.
- Manhattan (285): One year after a fifth-place finish at the MAAC Championship, Manhattan returns three seniors. The Jaspers failed to post a top-five finish in a tournament with more than 10 teams this fall. Sophomore Michael Giannico nabbed a 3rd-place finish at the Dowling College September Shootout after shooting a 70 in the first round.
- Rider (286): Rider pulled out one top-5 finish in tournaments with more than 10 teams – a fifth-place showing at the rain-shortened Binghamton Invitational. Junior Cole Clark nabbed a top-15 finish at the Binghamton Invitational with a round of 72.
- Niagara (294): Niagara, a team that includes four upperclassmen, came in last at the 2012-13 MAAC Championship. The fall brought more of the same, as Niagara came in last at all four of its tournaments.