by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Doug Snelling won't hide how he felt after his team finished a disappointing fifth at the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division Tournament.
"All of us were disappointed at the conference championship," the veteran Hudson head girls golf coach said.
As a result, the Lady Explorers desperately needed to redeem themselves quickly.
Fortunately for Hudson, that wasn't a problem at all.
The Lady Explorers won a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 1 at Gleneagles Golf Course in Twinsburg.
Hudson posted a score of 335. Walsh Jesuit finished second with a 349 and the Lady Explorers' Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division rivals, Solon (368) and North Royalton (371), finished third and fourth, respectively. A total of 14 teams participated.
The top four teams advanced to a Division I district tournament, which is scheduled to take place Oct. 8 at The Legends of Massillon. Play is set to begin at 9 a.m.
"I am so proud of the girls," Snelling said. "They knew what they had to do and worked hard. Everything fell into place."
Sophomore Julia Goodson led the Lady Explorers with a 76 to earn medalist honors. She beat the second-place finisher, Walsh's Regina Reilly, by eight strokes.
"In the eight years I've been coaching, no sophomore has shot that well in a sectional tournament," Snelling said. "Julia putted well and she hit the ball well. Even though she leads the team in scoring, she's a regular girl. She does not have an ego. She wants to be treated just like everybody else."
Senior captain Nicole Goodson, Julia Goodson's older sister, and junior Meredith Spitz each shot an 85 to finish in a tie for third.
Nicole Goodson has been stellar thus far despite suffering a knee injury during the off-season.
"That was close to Nicole's best score," Snelling said. "She was our best putter [Oct. 1]. She still wears the brace, but she's completely healthy. She is one determined young lady."
Spitz has been a pleasant surprise this season.
"Meredith is one of the most improved players from a scoring standpoint," Snelling said. "She has worked hard since April. She has improved her scoring average by five strokes. That's pretty significant."
Rounding out the team scoring for the Lady Explorers was sophomore Moe Madar (89).
"Moe has worked hard on her game and she is determined to do well," Snelling said.
The Gleneagles course featured lightning-fast greens that caused many headaches for just about everybody.
Well, everybody other than the Hudson players at least.
"The course was wet the past three years we've gone there," Snelling said. "We played there last week and they were as fast as they've been. The girls got a good understanding of the greens and that helped them significantly."
Everything seemed to go wrong during the Valley Division Tournament last month. Just about everything went right at Gleneagles.
"I could see how well they were playing right out of the box," Snelling said. "Julia hit a shot a foot and a half from the hole for birdie on the fourth hole. At that point, I knew things were going our way."
The Lady Explorers may need to post a similar or perhaps, an even better score if they want to reach the state meet.
"Our score puts us right in the mix," Snelling said. "Kent Roosevelt, [Massillon] Jackson and [Medina] Highland are going to be there and then there are two other spots. It could be us, Walsh [Jesuit], Canfield, Green or Medina."
Whether Hudson takes that final step could wait another day. After the sectional tournament, Snelling and his talented pupils were too busy enjoying themselves.
"We had pizza after the tournament and then we went and got ice cream," Snelling said. "Last week, I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh --368 [the Lady Explorers' score at the Valley Division Tournament] will get us nowhere. It was great to see the girls bounce back."