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Golf

Aiming high, shooting low

Mascenic looking to maximize potential down the home stretch

  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.
  • The Mascenic golf team hosted a four-team match on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.

So far it hasn’t been a typical season for the Mascenic golf team.

Over the previous seven seasons, the Vikings have not lost more than three regular season match-ups in a given campaign and have just a total of six losses since the start of 2006. But after Tuesday’s four-team home meet at the Shattuck, Mascenic stood at 9-5 overall and in fifth place in Division III.

The Vikings tied Pelham with a team score of 173 for the low total of the day, but lost out on the tiebreaker. After the top four scores for each team came out to 173, the deciding factor came down to each team’s fifth score and Pelham finished one shot better than Mascenic. Gilford, which had defeated Mascenic by seven strokes on Monday at Winnisquam, finished with a 183, followed by Monadnock’s 309.

“It wasn’t a great day, but they played all right,” said first-year coach Kevin Rines. “I think they expect more out of themselves.”

Sophomore Roman Ojala — last year’s Division III individual champion — finished with a 3-over, 39, to tie Pelham’s Jake Vaiknoras for the medallist position. Mascenic’s top golfer and Vaiknoras are no strangers to battling it out, as Pelham’s top golfer finished four shots off of Ojala’s winning score last October.

Sophomore Adrian Somero took second for the Vikings with a 43, one shot better than junior Shane Rautiola’s 44. Jordan Kinnunen, the only senior on the team, rounded out the scoring with a 47.

“The scores are a little bit up,” said Rines. “One guy will shoot OK and the rest will be average. There just isn’t that consistency.”

It is uncharted waters for a program that has enjoyed so much success in recent history. Not only do they own four of the last six state titles, but also finished runner-up a year ago.

But things just haven’t clicked quite yet. The talent is there to have a strong showing in the Division III tournament on Oct. 10, it will just come down to all seven playing well on the same day. Something Rines is confident can happen.

“Hopefully we can turn the corner a little bit,” said Rines. “There is potential. It’s just a matter of getting them to play a little better.”

Five of the seven who teed it up for Mascenic on Tuesday played in states last year. So they all have the experience of the pressure involved with the one-day tournament and that is big for any team who have high expectations.

While the regular season record is not what it has been like, the Vikings have played quite a few times against the top teams in D-III.

They have played the top teams in the standings — undefeated Bow and Campbell — each once and will square off with both again before the end of the season. Mascenic has also taken on No. 3 Gilford twice and Tuesday’s meeting with Pelham, ranked fourth, was the third of 2013. The five losses have come against Bow, Gilford, Kearsarge and Pelham twice.

Starting with Thursday’s three-team tilt at Laconia, the Vikings have seven match-ups remaining before the tournament. Barring a major collapse, Mascenic should easily make states as one of the top seven teams in D-III.

“They’ve got to turn it up a little it and there’s plenty of time to do it,” said Rines.

Then it comes to one day, when shooting a low score matters the most.

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