Original recruits end career as champions

The women’s golf team at Seton Hall has been around for four years, and the Big East champions have four seniors that have watched the program develop since it began their freshman year.

Stacie Ballou, Samantha Massei, Haley Van Es and Hannah Basalone are concluding their collegiate golf careers this season after bringing home the Big East trophy that the team won two weeks ago.

Basalone contributed to the title, as she has been a regular starter for the team over the past four years, while the other three seniors have not.

But despite not making the starting lineup each year, their contributions have been key in the team’s development and success.

“They’ve done so much to add to the program, and just because their numbers aren’t being posted doesn’t mean that they aren’t a huge part of this,” head coach Sara Doell said. “There’s something to be said about the fact that they just continue to do what they need to do day in and day out and not be rewarded by being in the lineup.”

The three have found other ways to contribute to the team’s development by accepting a leadership role and passing on their experiences to maintain the program’s success in the future.

“Me, Sam and Haley haven’t played a ton, but we’ve gotten to see the program grow by being a part of recruiting each year and seeing how much better they get,” Ballou said. “It’s been really rewarding to see that our first impressions are what got these athletes to come. That’s been a major role for us and it’s been really fun.”

Van Es has taken on the role of being the group’s yoga instructor, and leads a class once a week during the offseason. Massei has been a leader in the gym and motivates others with her workout regimen. All three of them have also kept up with their academics and made dean’s list the last four semesters.

Not only have the seniors made an impact on the program, but they have gained valuable experiences and opportunities along the ride.

Ballou, a physics major and history minor, expressed her excitement about the opportunities that came along from being a part of the team for four years. During the team’s trip to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Ballou met Donald Trump and got to meet with bankers and engineers who were willing to help her out after graduation.

Massei and Ballou both attributed much of their growth and development to their coach, who has been with the team since the start of the program as well.

Seton Hall added women’s golf in March 2010 before they had a coach in mind. Men’s golf coach Clay White was in charge of recruitment for four weeks until Doell was appointed head coach.

“Every year, coach has done a great job of getting great players on the team, and our skill level as a team has gotten way better,” Massei said. “I know that I can go to coach for really anything that I’m having problems with.”

Doell has established a comfortable relationship with her seniors and has even implemented a “Real Life 101” course consisting of sessions preparing the seniors for life after college. Doell arranged for a professor to meet with the girls on campus for a session about money management and created a list of 25 life lessons that she has learned and wanted to share with the seniors.

In the next session, Doell plans to bring in two student-athletes to chat with the seniors about how to handle the post-graduation life.

For some of the girls, the relationships and individual experiences they gained from being a part of a team were the fondest of their memories as a Pirate.

The team received an automatic berth in the NCAA Regional Championships as part of the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Golf Championship which will take place from May 8-10.

Mike Romano can be reached at romanoma@shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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