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Huron girls ready for return to state tournament

Butch Wagner • May 12, 2015 at 5:36 PM

The goals are lofty for the Huron High School girls golf team headed for the state championships in Columbus this weekend.

Coach Frank Gioffre's veteran squad of three seniors, a sophomore and a freshman is looking to make a genuine run at the top of the list when the 36-hole Division II event comes to a close late Saturday afternoon on Ohio State's Gray course.

Seniors Lauren Volz, Ashley Franks and Shannon Allen, sophomore Hannah Critelli and freshman Rafaella Gioffre arrive on a district championship performance at Sycamore Springs Golf Course a week ago with a 348 total.

"We had the second lowest district score but it means little when it comes to this," Frank Gioffre said. "The top four teams from last year are back, and we finished eighth for the second time.

"Cathedral Latin won with 658 (332-326) and lost just one girl. Poland Seminary was second at 677, followed by St. Paris Graham at 687 and Hathaway Brown of Cleveland at 691."

Huron had 736 in 2008 and 745 a year ago, but appears to have the lineup this time around to go a lot lower.

"We have the valuable experience with Lauren and Ashley playing for the third time while Shannon and Hannah have played there once before," Gioffre said.

"We won the SBC, the sectional and the district and what better way for our three seniors to end their careers than to have success in the state," Gioffre said.

The girls talked about the two-day tournaments.

"The team goal for me is to win, and its also the same as an individual," said Volz, the 2010 conference player of the year who earned All-Ohio honors in 2009 at the state with rounds of 76-79, and a 155 total to rank fourth overall. She had 94-97--191 in 2008.

"I would really like to shoot two or three over par, but 75, 76 would also be nice."

Franks also has high hopes. "The team goal for me is to finish first or second and individually, I'd like to rank in the top 10." Franks fired 97-96--193 a year ago, and posted 91-92--183 as a sophomore.

Allen recorded 98-90--188 in 2008, and tied for 46th spot overall. Franks finished 38th with 183.

"Right now I'm having problems with an ulcer and couldn't practice Tuesday," Allen said. "I have to take care of myself and get as strong as I can in order to be able to play the 36 holes. Playing in the state again means so much to all of us (seniors)."

"As for the team goal, at first it was to get back to the state, and now that we have, the goal for me is for us to win it all. Individually, I'd like to make first-team All-Ohio. That's placing sixth or higher."

"This is our 'last hurrah' and I don't think I'll be nervous like I was in 2008. It was so overwhelming playing the course, but now I've played in a lot more tournaments like that," Allen said.

Critelli remembered her first experience a year ago when she had 106-100--206.

"There was a lot more pressure last year because I knew they were counting on me, but now we have five girls who can step up and do the job when someone might slip."

"My goal is also to shoot in the 90s each day. That would be nice," Critelli said.

Rafaella Gioffre also feels her team has a chance to win it all.

"I think we can do that if we play up to our capabilities. Individually, my goal is to shoot in the 90s. Shooting in the 80s would be very good," the daughter of the head coach said.

Volz, who posted an amazing round of 30 at the Thunderbird Hills North course in season play, talked about the part of the game she has improved on. "My chipping and putting is a lot better this year."

Franks feels the improvement in all phases of the game has come through the help of professional Justin Long of the Mudbrook Golf Center. "Also, I have a lot more confidence in my putting this year," Franks said.

Allen also agrees Long has been the key in her game.

Asked about her strong suit, Allen said, "my driving has been much better and really, that dictates how well I play."

Critelli cites her short game as the biggest improvement, but feels she can putt better. "My short game is one of my strengths.

Volz and Franks also recalled a tough hole personally for them last year.

"It was No. 11. I took three shots just to get out of the sand," Volz said.

"For me, it was No. 15 where I had a nine. That was a hole I haven't forgotten," Franks said.

The seniors also now the lay of the land so to speak.

"We came up short on our shots quite often and maybe this time I'll make sure I have enough club to get there," Franks said.

"I like the greens. They're not crazy, not flat either, but the speed is the key when it comes to putting," Volz said.

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