Pine-Richland girls golf has solid 1-2 punch with Freyvogel, Chopra

Sunday, August 20, 2017 | 11:35 PM

Last season came down to the wire for the Pine-Richland girls golf team. After a slow start left the team lower than it would have liked to be in the Section 1-AAA standings, coach Patti White's group set a simple goal.

“Last year, we had to win out the whole second half of our schedule in order to tie for the section lead, and I think that kept them focused,” White said. “They did it. They went into each match knowing that they had to win it, and they did.”

While that late-season run helped to accomplish a goal, White said it only served to whet their appetite for this season.

“We tied for the section championship last year with Butler. Our goal this year is to win it outright. And I think we can do it,” she said. “We have five returning starters, and we have seven new girls that came out for the team and several of them show promise.”

One of those returning starters is junior Lauren Freyvogel, who has won back-to-back individual section titles. The Virginia commit also finished third overall in the WPIAL Class AAA championship and fourth in the PIAA championship.

“I'm sure she has her sights set on WPIALs and states again this season,” White said. “It's fun to watch Lauren play because she has such a beautiful swing, and her determination on the course is such a good thing to see. She's very talented. She really is.”

Another junior for the Rams, Aiyana Chopra, has been turning heads with her early season rounds. In the last year or so, White said she has noticed Chopra has doubled down on her commitment to golf and the results are noticeable.

“I think she's more consistent this year,” White said. “She's playing at a better pace, and I think she's more confident with the shot she's going to take.

“Aiyana's scores have been showing it. She's consistently coming in with low ones. With Lauren and Aiyana, I haven't had a combination like that for a couple of years.”

Seniors Kiera Loftus and Libby Pickels and junior Kaylee Grieb will help fill out the rest of the starting lineup.

The Rams will play in their first section match against Armstrong at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Kittanning Country Club.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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