Ball State just had one of the most successful fall seasons in recent years. Thanks to a home-tournament victory, top team finishes throughout the season and a few Cardinals hitting their stride, Ball State is a threat in the Mid-American Conference heading into the offseason. Here are some takeaways from the fall schedule.
Every fall, Ball State hosts the Cardinal Classic at the Player’s Club in Yorktown, Indiana. This is the team’s one home tournament of the season. For the first time in seven years, the Cardinals claimed victory at their home course.
“Winning our home tournament for the first time since 2012 was certainly a highlight of the year,” head coach Katherine Mowat said. “To have all five of our top five players collect top-20 finishes speaks to the depth of our team and what we are capable of accomplishing when we have all cylinders firing.”
Both senior Manon Tounalom and junior Tiegan Taylor finished in the top five individually to lead the Cardinals to the first-place finish.
Finding her groove
One golfer that really stepped up for Ball State was sophomore Hadley Moritz. Moritz tallied three top-20 finishes in the five tournaments of the fall. Her season was highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the Ram Classic in September.
“Hadley really settled into a groove during our spring season last year, and she continued that trend this fall,” Mowat said. “She earned back-to-back MAC Women's Golfer of The Week titles this season. It is really exciting to see a player so comfortable near the top of the leaderboard so early in her career.”
Although a sophomore, Moritz stepped into a leadership role and constantly contributed to the Cardinals’ team performance. As a young team, Ball State benefitted from having an underclassman produce the way she did.
Battling tough conditions and even tougher competition, Ball State travelled to Ohio to participate in the Mid-American Conference Preview at Silver Lake. This was the first and only time of the season where all of the conference teams were battling it out in one place. This gave the Cardinals an opportunity to see how the competition might be next spring.
“The biggest moment as a team this fall season was MAC Preview at Silver Lake,” junior Liz Kim said. “I think the grind of that tournament gave all of us a different kind of motivation that will fuel us for the rest of the year. We didn't know what to expect, and we were challenged in unique ways that we haven't experienced.”
The first tournament of the season was in Normal, Illinois, for the Redbird Invitational. Ball State kicked off the season on a strong note by finishing in third out of 17 teams. This set the tone for the rest of the season.
“Our first tournament at Illinois State set a good foundation for our team of where we were and where we could be,” Moritz said. “We finished as the top MAC team in that tournament, beating out Northern Illinois University, who had previously beaten us in the MAC Tournament this past spring.”
Beating out some MAC rivals allowed Ball State to get ahead early and see how the conference competition shaped up.
Ball State’s only senior
Senior Manon Tounalom took everything she worked on last spring and brought it to the fall as the only senior on this team. Tounalom notched two top-five finishes this fall. With Ball State being a younger team, Tounalom took it upon herself to be a leader.
“[Tounalom] is always a consistent number for our team,” Moritz said. “Following a not-so-great round always comes a low, solid round to back herself and the team up. She has grown tremendously as a leader for our team.”
From Ball State Freshman of the Year to a senior leading the team on all fronts, Tounalom has took it upon herself to steer the Cardinals in the right direction.