There were some big question marks about the Riverside golf team this year.
Graduation losses from a team that was 11-3 in Division II play claimed many starters from last year’s team but the Vikings have shown that a no-quit attitude can make a difference.
So far this year, the Vikings have delivered four victories in Lackawanna League play, showing that desire and improvement in one’s game can inspire a team to improve itself beyond belief.
“We started off well. Losing five seniors from last year’s team; I don’t think a lot of people expected us to get off to such a good start this year,” Riverside head coach Bob Coyle said. “The kids have been working hard and we’re off to a good start.”
The schedule seems to have given Coyle enough time to use his experience wisely and has perhaps even stolen a match or two, or even better, a point or two, to swing victory toward the Vikings.
“We lost our first match at Carbondale, Panorama [Golf Course]; tough start with some new kids in the starting lineup who never played Panorama before,” Coyle said. “That was a tough loss. Carbondale has a lot of young kids coming back.”
But the Vikings bounced right back to remain in the thick of the chase for a District 2 playoff berth by defeating Lakeland, Elk Lake, Forest City and Montrose.
“We then lost to Dunmore, who was one of the favorites going into league this year,” Coyle said. “Carbondale has five of its six starters back; Dunmore also has five starters back, and they are all seniors who have started since they were freshmen. It wasn’t hard to tell our team that we were going to have tough matches with them this year.
“But overall, I’m pleased with where we are at right now.”
With most of the team trying to find out where they belong on the course, some others have stepped into leadership roles because they needed to set examples for the others to follow.
“Evan Carrubba came out last year off an injury in the basketball season,” Coyle said. “He really was not 100 percent last year, but he is ready now, Plus, he worked at Pine Hills over the summer, which got him prepared.”
Carrubba led the Vikings at the Jackman Memorial with a 96, one shot better than teammate and fellow senior Anthony DeFrancesco.
“He has been in the program since he was a freshman and became a starter last year,” Coyle said.
The Vikings may be better built for match play and not stroke play, but players the likes of Carrubba and DeFrancesco will keep the Vikings among the top smaller-school teams in the Lackawanna League’s Division II.”