Ball State women’s golf faced some tough challenges in route to its sixth place finish in the Mid-American Conference Championship in Naperville, Illinois, over the weekend. 

Ball State tied for sixth place with Western Michigan with a score of 950. This score put the Cardinals at 86 over par for the tournament. 

Ball State kicked off the tournament with a score of 321 on Friday. The team sat in eighth place after scoring a 321. Leading the pack was sophomore Manon Tounalom and freshman Emily Knouff who teed up a 77 and 78 respectively. These underclassmen were followed by freshman Liz Kim (+10), senior Morgan Nadaline (+12), and junior Sydney Anderson (+13). 

Fortunately, Ball State was able to come together and have its best round of the tournament on Saturday with a score of 309. This put the Cardinals 54 over par and in seventh place overall. Leading the scoring for Ball State yet again were Tounalom (+7) and Knouff (+13). 

However, Ball State could not keep the scores low on the final day of play on Sunday. The Cardinals notched a score of 320 to bring the total for the weekend to 86 over par. Tounalom was the leading force for the entire tournament and chalked up a top 15 finish overall. Following the sophomore were Knouff (+23), Kim (+26), Anderson (+27), and Nadaline (+28). 

The conditions at the Naperville Country Club were not the best and may have played a role in the Cardinals’ performance. 

“It was a tough day with tough conditions," head coach Katherine Mowat said. “However, we battled and finished with determination.”

Kent State stood far out of any team's view, scoring a 853. This win was Kent State’s 20th straight MAC title with a score of -11. The 11 under par performance was a MAC women’s golf tournament record. Far behind Kent State sat Toledo (+46) and Northern Illinois (+59). 

Although Ball State was unable to place in a top spot in this year’s MAC Tournament, the future is bright with young talent. In fact, the Cardinals' top three finishers over the weekend are freshmen and sophomores. 

“Our top three scorers are returning and we are adding a nice-sized freshmen class,” Mowat said. “There are a lot of good things to anticipate next fall."

Even though the Cardinals will be adding new names to next season's roster, the team will still have to make up for the loss of the only senior on the team in Morgan Nadaline, who has played all four years on the women’s golf team, and has given back as much as she has taken from the program. Nadaline knows what it takes to be a leader and even though she is graduating this spring, she still sees the great potential that lies in the women's golf program.

“I think this is a really great opportunity for the team to grow as a whole because what they have this year is basically what they will have next year,” Nadaline said. 

Many people see collegiate sports as just a way to keep busy and travel across the country. For Nadaline, women’s golf has been an outlet to show her tremendous passion for the sport and to help the program grow as a whole. 

“My past four years here have been unbelievable. I have enjoyed every bit of it,” Nadaline said. “I have gained some best friends in the past four years and I have learned so many valuable lessons.” 

Ball State women’s golf looks forward to next season as it brings in a new class of freshmen in hopes of continuing to build on improvement come fall.

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