Lily Boettcher has been elected the captain of what will be the defending Ivy League Champion 2011-2012 Yale women's golf team. The announcement was made at the team's annual banquet. Also announced at the banquet was the Widdy Neale Award winners, given annually to the player who does the most to boost the morale of the team and who goes the extra step both on and off the course. Sophomore Alex Lipa and freshman Sun Park were co-recipients for their efforts in 2010-2011.
"I'm excited and honored to be the next captain of Yale women's golf," Boettcher said. "I love Yale and I love this team. I recognized the tremendous opportunity I had to play for this school, for a great coach and with such talented players, when I arrived on campus three years ago. Now a senior, I appreciate my teammates' confidence in me to become the new captain and am excited to be a leader on this team."
Boettcher, a Tulsa, Okla., native has appeared in 13 tournaments for the Bulldogs in her first three years, including a solid freshman campaign that saw her post a 27th-place finish at the Ross Resorts Invite and another top-30 finish (29th) at the Yale Women's Intercollegiate. As a sophomore, Boettcher was spectacular at Yale's tournament again, this time finishing sixth overall with rounds of 73 and 80. In 2010-11, as she helped Yale to an Ivy League Championship, Boettcher bested the entire opposing team in the Bulldogs' season opener against Longwood University, firing a 75 in the two-team matchup. She also finished 13th at the Sacred Heart Invitational (78, 83), and 19th at the Yale Women's Intercollegiate, thanks to very strong Saturday-Sunday rounds (81, 75, 74).
"Golf is interesting because although our performance depends on individuals' scores, the team just will not be successful unless everyone works together—in the sense that we want to achieve the same goals and push each other to improve," Boettcher said. "We had one of the most exceptional seasons in team history this past year, and we did it with a collective desire… Just as importantly, we had fun in the process and enjoyed each other's company. Attitude is everything in golf, so I'm excited to maintain that same atmosphere and enthusiasm as we approach the fall season."
As they head into that fall season, expectations will certainly be high for a team that won seven of its 10 tournaments over the fall and spring seasons in 2010-11, including, of course, the Ivy League Championships. Missing when Boettcher takes the helm next season, however, will be three seniors who have all made the All-Ivy squad at some point in their careers, Cassie Boles, Harriet Owers-Bradley and this year's captain and last year's Ivy League Individual Champion, Alyssa Roland. Yet with the emergence of freshman Seo Hee Moon, this year's Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year, and co-Widdy Neale Award Winner Park, who established herself as an exceptional talent over the course of the spring season and at the NCAA Regional, as well as returners like Lipa, Kim, and Callie Kemmer, Boettcher and the Bulldogs have realistic hopes of continuing the success they experienced this season.
"I have high expectations for our team next year. We just had an incredible season, and I wholeheartedly believe we can put ourselves in position to do it again," Boettcher said. "Our three outgoing seniors elevated Yale and Ivy League golf to a whole other level during their time here, but I'm proud to say we have some other very talented individuals who played a large role in this year's success. As freshmen, Seo Hee and Sun were playing in the top two positions—they're phenomenal—and the sophomores, Joy and Alex, are absolutely solid players. I have exceptional confidence in the depth of talent on this team and know we can be even better than before."