2016-17 Season Outlook
For the second year in a row the men’s golf team enters their season with a new head coach. Taking over the program is Damon Jensen, who brings seven years of collegiate coaching experience and is an accomplished golfer. He inherits a team that had success last season and is in position to carry on that trend this year.
“Since I did not take over as head coach until late summer, I will use the fall season to get to know the players and to develop the team into competitive form,” said Jensen. “However I believe we have the golfers in place to do well and put up low team and individual scores.”
A year ago the Trolls achieved a program first as they qualified as a team for the NCCAA National Championship in the fall. That qualification came as a result of a first place finish at the North Central Regional match. Throughout the year the team also claimed two other first place finishes with the top spot in their Troll Classic in the fall and at the University of St. Francis Invite in the spring. At that spring event they set a school record for low team score. The Trolls ended their season with a sixth place finish at the conference match.
The team returns eight golfers, including two of their top four scorers, from last year and has added two new freshmen to the roster. Overall the squad is experienced with four seniors and two juniors. They have the personnel to be very competitive and will challenge each other for the playing positions each week.
Any number of golfers can step into the top spots this year. One player that will consistently be one of the leaders is senior Jonathan Zandstra (Schererville, Indiana), who is the top returning golfer. A year ago he averaged 78.9 in the nine matches he competed in. He earned NCCAA North Central All-Region honors with a third place finish at the region meet and was one of the golfers who participated at the NCCAA national tournament. Another team leader will be sophomore Steven Massey (Lansing, Illinois), who played in 12 matches last season and had an overall average of 79.7. He was the Trolls’ top finisher at the CCAC Championships at 14th place. He also earned NCCAA Region honors and played in at the NCCAA national tournament.
Included in the strong group of returning golfers who can contribute to the team scoring are senior Alek Svabek (Orland Park, Illinois), senior Jared Wallace (Crete, Illinois), and junior Matt Dail (Fulton, Illinois). Svabek played in nine matches a year ago with a season average of 83.1. He was one of the competitors at the NCCAA national tournament. Wallace posted 81.4 season average in the seven matches he played in a year ago. Dail competed in 10 matches last year with an 82.8 average. He was the individual top finisher at the Troll Classic in the fall with a score of 70 and also played at the NCCAA national tournament.
The other returners who will factor into the mix are senior Scott Ebbeling (Northbridge, Massachusetts), junior Tony Dykstra (Highland, Indiana), and sophomore Jim Vos (Orland Park, Illinois).
The team has added two incoming freshmen to their roster. Bob Schaaf (Tinley Park, Illinois) was a four-year golfer at Chicago Christian High School where he earned all-conference honors. He played on a two-time conference and regional championship team. Trent Bell (Bradenton, Florida) played for his high school team at Bradenton Christian High School and was twice selected as his team’s most improved golfer.
The Trolls will play in a total of seven matches during their fall season. They open on September 1-2 at Governors State University Invitational. Included in that fall schedule are the NCCAA Region Tournament on September 23-24 and the Troll Classic on October 3.The team will continue their schedule in the spring and build to the conference tournament in late April.