South Fayette girls golf wastes no time making program history

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Thursday, August 29, 2019 | 6:00 PM


Aug. 27 is a date that will go into the South Fayette history books.

The girls golf team, in the first match of its inaugural season, recorded a 206-259 win over Bethel Park for the first victory in program history. Coach Rocky Violi hopes it is just one of many more to come.

“My goal is to get these kids better every day,” Violi said. “I want them to continue to learn the game. I also want them to enjoy the game, come back next year and continue to grow the program.

“We play teams like Mt. Lebo, Peters and USC. They are well established with varsity and junior varsity teams. I want to be at their level.”

The team opened the season with a 1-2 record.

Violi said the program started with seven girls, with two more coming out in recent weeks. The roster includes several girls who are casual players. A few more are new to the sport. But a pair of underclassmen have been the strength of the team.

Sophomore Caroline McConnell has been the leader. Without a girls team to play with, she was a member of the boys program last season. McConnell finished third at the WPIAL Class AAA girls individual championships and finished fourth in states.

“She has taken a role of the team leader,” Violi said. “She does everything well. Her driving, short game and iron play are all good. At practice, she works hard at the range and the putting green. I would say there is no weakness in her game.”

Freshman Marissa Malosh has several Junior PGA tournaments under her belt. While young, Malosh has shown the potential to be a major contributor moving forward.

“This is her first year as a high school golfer, so she is getting used to the experience,” Violi said. “She does so many great things on the course.”

South Fayette boys

Sometimes, there is a thin line between a win and a loss. The Lions are learning that lesson the hard way.

South Fayette dropped its first two section matches to Peters Township and Trinity by a combined five strokes.

“Last year, we were on the opposite side of that,” coach Robert Ruffolo said. “We won a lot of matches by a few strokes. The ability is there. We just need them to do their job.”

Luke Lestini returns after a strong junior season. He finished 10th the WPIAL Class AAA individual championships and 16th in the state. Lestini spent the summer player in a variety Junior PGA events.

“He’s just fantastic,” Ruffolo said. “He is the leader of the team.”

James Cavrak was the only freshman to reach the WPIAL semifinals last season. In addition to physical growth, Ruffolo said the sophomore gained more confidence this season. Trent D’Alesandro is another sophomore making an impact. He played in only three matches last season but is averaging a 39.5 in the early matches of the season.

“He has absolutely dedicated himself,” Ruffolo said. “He is doing a great job and stepping up.”

Other contributors to the team include Jaiden Mizenko, Alec Goldstrom and Colby Geary.

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