As the steps go in building a program, consider the Riverhead girls golf team in phase two.
In a one-win season last year, most of the matches the Blue Waves lost ended in a lopsided favor of the opponent. This year, while the wins haven’t increased just yet, the Blue Waves are playing much tighter matches that are often separated by a minimal number of strokes.
“It’s been my experience in building a program you start off by losing big, then losing by a little and then winning by a little and winning big if all goes to plan,” said Riverhead coach Steve Failla. “There’s good progress being made.”
After poor weather disrupted the Blue Waves’ schedule, the golfers got back on the course Tuesday and lost 7-2 against defending league champion Longwood at Cherry Creek Golf Links.
The Blue Waves ended up 16 strokes off Longwood’s total.
Sophomore Kaylee Wells has anchored the Blue Waves’ lineup playing in the No. 1 spot in the lineup each match.
Failla said Wells has been more consistent on the course compared to last year.
“She works hard at mastering her craft,” he said. “I’m pretty confident she’ll be continuing this trend of improvement.”
Failla said overall the entire team has taken big strides so far this season. The Blue Waves’ lone win of the season came in their second match. They opened the season with a loss against Sachem East where they finished one stroke behind.
After a strong start to the season, the Blue Waves (1-8 League III) want to end on a similarly strong note.
“That’s kind of our theme right now,” Failla said. “They’re a great group of girls. They really look out for each other.”
While most of the lineup has varied throughout the season, senior Aysha Ozyilmaz has held down the No. 2 spot for most of the season. Failla said junior Corey Gianuzzi has been the most improved golfer on the team.
“She’s got the right mentality for golf,” Failla said.
Failla was confident the Blue Waves could pick up a few wins in their final three matches, including two against Sachem North and the season finale against Sachem East. Sachem North also has one win.
“I do know this, we’ll be in the mix,” Failla said.
The Blue Waves could be down a few golfers the last week. A few rain postponements pushed the season back a little bit, which could interfere with some of the girls preparing for AP exams, Failla said.
“Academics are the priority,” Failla said.