Central Connecticut was picked to finish third in the Northeast Conference according to the league coaches poll released this afternoon. Led by two-time all-conference performer Tim Buczak, a senior, and sophomores Tom Ursa and Eric Hawerchuk, the Blue Devils will look to earn a fifth league title. They finished third last season, marking the 11th consecutive top-four finish.
Buczak, who earned all-conference accolades in 2006 and 2008, posted a 77.6 stroke average over 10 rounds this past fall. His best finish, a tie for 11th, came at Rutgers. The Meriden, CT native posted a 75.7 stroke average last season, finishing the campaign with a tie for eighth at the NEC Championships. Ursa and Hawerchuk, meanwhile, had the best averages of this past fall. Ursa, who played all 13 rounds over CCSU's six events, had a team-low 74.1 average. He tied for fourth at Dartmouth, marking one of three top-10s. Last season, Ursa appeared in all but one event, had a 79.0 stroke average and one top-10 effort. He shot 78-83-81 at the NECs. Hawerchuk also played all 13 fall rounds this season. He placed tied for seventh at the ECAC Championships and ended the fall with a 74.3 stroke average. In his freshman season, Hawerchuk played 23 rounds and had a 77.7 average. He shot 74-80-78 at the conference championships.
Junior Sean Lally, sophomore Sam Pelletier and freshmen Greg Beloin, Tucker Dooley and Keith Kwasnik will aid in the Blue Devils quest for another conference crown. Lally, who has played in two events during his career, finished this past fall with a 78.5 stroke average over two rounds. Pelletier, meanwhile, played nine rounds over four fall events and posted a 76.8 average. His best finish came at the NEIGA Championships, where he tied for 13th with rounds of 79 and 72. Last season, Pelletier had a 78.0 average over 21 rounds. He tied for 23rd at the NECs, carding a 74 and two 77s. The freshmen contingent had a busy fall. Beloin tied for fifth at Cornell and earned the only NEC Golfer of the Week award for the Blue Devils. He posted a 77.4 stroke average over three events and seven rounds. Dooley also played in three fall events. He had a 78.6 average over eight rounds. Kwasnik made his debut at Cornell and then played in the NEIGA Championships, where he shot 81-77.
Sacred Heart, the defending NEC champions, were slotted first in the preseason poll. The Pioneers received eight of 10 first place votes. Long Island, which received one first place tally, was picked second. Monmouth collected the final first place vote. The Hawks were fourth behind CCSU on the list. Mount St. Mary's rounded out the top-five, while Robert Morris and Quinnipiac came in a sixth and seventh. Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis (PA) tied for eighth, and Wagner and St. Francis (NY) completed the poll.
Central Connecticut will begin its spring season at the Patriot Intercollegiate hosted by George Mason. The two-day event being held at the Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, VA begins on Sunday, March 29. The Blue Devils will play three more events prior to the Northeast Conference Championships. The NECs will be held at Falcon Fire's Golf Club in Kissimmee, FL from Friday, May 1 through Sunday, May 3.