The Missouri State women’s golf team finished sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
The MVC pre-championship poll predicted the Bears to win the tournament after winning the championship last year and playing at the NCAA Regionals.
“From a team standpoint I was very disappointed,” head coach Kevin Kane said. “I felt like we had as good a chance — or better — than anybody to win, and we were favored to win.”
After the first two rounds of competition, the Bears were sitting in third place overall, led by freshman Abby Cavaiani who was tied for third.
Senior Ashley Childers was the next Bear in the rankings holding on to 11th place.
During the final round, Cavaiani worked her way into a tie for first place.
This was only the fourth tie after three rounds in MVC history.
Cavaiani battled out two playoff holes against Northern Iowa’s Sydney Eaton to bring home the individual championship for the Bears.
“I was nervous but I was confident in how I was playing,” Cavaiani said.
As the first MVC golfer since 2011 to earn medalist honors as a first-year player, Cavaiani took home Newcomer of the Year honors and was a member of the MVC 10-golfer all-conference team.
“I had to take it one shot at a time, one swing at a time, one round at a time and not get too ahead of myself,” Cavaiani said. “It ended up working out in my favor.”
Kane said he was not surprised Cavaiani took home the individual title. Even with her individual title, Cavaiani will not play in the NCAA Regionals.
She had been a top contender for the Bears all season and was ranked first in her class in Wisconsin at the end of her senior year of high school.
Childers was the next Bear in the final rankings finishing 29th overall followed by three Bears — senior Rachel Johnson, freshman Allison Bray and sophomore Bridget Schulte — tied for 35th.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it, we just did not play well,” Kane said. “Abby is obviously the silver lining to that.”
The Bears had won the last two conference tournaments and had three players on the team who had been a part of the winning teams.
“I don’t have the answers,” Kane said. “It’s not for lack of effort or lack of want to, we just picked a bad time to play poorly.”
The Bears will graduate two seniors from their 10-man roster: Childers and Johnson.
“This season will motivate our team to work even harder and to be even better,” Cavaiani said. “It’s something we’re going to keep in the back of our heads, and it’s really going to motivate us going into the next few seasons.”