Women’s golf spring preview: Team chemistry is key moving forward

Oregon head coach Ria Scott has a saying she shares with her players: “Winter break does wonders.”

Scott points out that the golf season is one of the longest for any of the teams at Oregon. They play from September to November, and then again from February to May.

Last year, winter break certainly did wonders. Oregon bounced back from a rough Fall campaign and made a historic run in the NCAA Championships.

With Oregon’s 2016-17 spring schedule set to begin on Saturday, Scott is hoping that the break will have similar effects this year.

“Sometimes winter break does wonders and makes you appreciate. … Some people, they go home and practice by themselves and they’re like ‘Oh, it’s way more fun when I have teammates to practice around,” Scott said. “So, it’s different for everybody. But everybody seems to come back refreshed, excited and wanting what’s genuinely best for this team.”

In November, at their last tournament in the Fall, the Nanea Pac-12 Preview, the Ducks finished fourth out of 12 teams, a marked improvement from the previous fall. Last year at Nanea, they finished ninth out of 10 teams and the break in their schedule couldn’t have come at a better time. They rallied in the second half of their season and put together an impressive spring, ending with a deep run in the NCAA’s at Eugene Country Club.

The key to that bounceback?

According to sophomore Kathleen Scavo, it was the team chemistry.

“Last year, what made a big difference was our team chemistry in the spring season because in the fall, we were all kind of struggling personally,” Scavo explained. “But what got us over that hump was our togetherness and our team chemistry.”

That’s been an area of focus for this team as they head into the latter portion of their schedule. Scott has found that creating that team environment in an solely individual sport has produced results.

Her message to the team as they go forward has centered around this idea.

“We’ve been working a lot on team bonding,” senior Cathleen Santoso said. “It’s something that in the past few years, my first few years here at Oregon, it makes a big difference. You don’t have to be best friends, but we have to get along and have really good communication skills.

“Ria wants us to genuinely grow as people off the course, which is something I admire so much about her. There’s not many coaches out there that care what you do off the field but she really does because she knows how much that affects what you do on the course.”

After a two month-long hiatus from competitive golf, Scott and co. are ready hit the courses again with their eyes set on the NCAA’s once again. They will open Spring play on Saturday in Portland, as they take on Oregon State in the annual Civil War Match Play challenge.

“It feels good to get back into competitive golf,” Scavo said. “I’m just really excited to kick off the season, especially next week, going to Portland and playing the Beavs. It’ll be good to play some competitive golf before Stanford.”

Follow Gus Morris on Twitter @JustGusMorris

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Gus Morris

Gus Morris

Gus Morris covers Oregon football, basketball and women's golf for the Emerald. Caffeine addict. Bay Area sports. I know words, I have the best words.