Women's golf 2021 Season in Review
PROVO, Utah – Led by West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Allysha Mae Mateo, BYU women’s golf overcame the adversity of a pandemic and early-season struggles to end the 2020-21 campaign with five-straight top-5 finishes.
“I’m most proud of how we finished,” said BYU head coach Carrie Roberts. “Everyone was dialed in for our last couple of events, they trusted their game plans and really committed to their execution.”
After the pandemic canceled the Cougars’ last two events of the 2019-20 season, the team endured an offseason of uncertainty before returning to competition at the Lady Red Wolves Classic at Sage Meadows Country Club in Jonesboro, Arkansas on October 12-13.
“The pandemic had a lot of uncertainty, and it was tough to deal with,” said Roberts. “I’m proud of the girls for recognizing and overcoming those challenges.”
The first half of BYU’s season included extensive travel from Arkansas and Oklahoma to Georgia and Texas. While on the road, the Cougars faced some of the nation’s best, including now-No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 15 Baylor. For the season, BYU faced 17 teams selected for NCAA Regionals and four which went on to qualify for nationals.
While the team struggled to overpower top competition, the season’s opening tournaments were still filled with individual highlights.
Mateo started the season off strong as she recorded top-3 finishes in three of the team’s first four tournaments.
The junior from Honolulu, Hawaii fired her best round of the season with a 4-under 68 to open the Lady Red Wolves Classic. Mateo finished runner-up in Jonesboro with a 54-hole score of 5-under 68-73-70—211. At the Trinity Forest Invitational on Feb. 1-2, Mateo would finish tied for third with golfers from then-No. 1 Baylor.
“Allysha Mae is special in that she mentally and physically puts in the work,” said Roberts. “She has an ability to think through situations, stay in the moment and make sure she is giving everything she has to every shot.”
Despite Mateo’s impressive scores, the team struggled to open the season with a single-round scoring average of 306. Powered by improvement from across the roster, the Cougars found their stride down the stretch and improved that average by six shots to 300 while notching five-consecutive top-5 finishes to end the season.
Senior Naomi Soifua led the Cougars into fifth at the Juli Inkster at Meadow Club invitational on March 8-9, as she posted a three-round score of 74-73-75—222. Soifua came in tied for 11th at the Meadow Club with eventual individual national champion, Rachel Heck of Stanford.
Freshman Lila Galeai bolstered BYU to a fourth-place finish at the Spring Classic at Sand Hollow Golf Course in Hurricane, Utah on March 15. Galeai fired four birdies in the second round to close the weather-abbreviated tournament at 3-over 77-70—147.
Mateo, Galeai and sophomore Kerstin Fotu finished top-15 while facing highly ranked individuals from No. 14 Baylor and No. 20 Houston at the Lone Star Invitational on April 12-13.
Galeai and Fotu came up big for the Cougars in the third round at the Golf Club of Houston, carding a combined seven birdies to go along with 15 pars from Fotu.
Following a fourth-place finish at the Lone Star, BYU looked to the 2021 WCC Championships at Reflection Bay Golf Course in Henderson, Nevada. The Cougars were picked to finish second in the conference’s preseason coaches’ poll.
Despite opening with two of the team’s best rounds of the season (293-291), BYU slipped to a third-place finish after a disappointing final round of 320.
“As a team we will pick ourselves up and learn and grow from this,” said Roberts.
While coming up short of the WCC title, the Cougars ended the tournament with a season-high four top-15 finishers.
In the days following the conference tournament, Mateo was named 2021 WCC Women’s Golf Player of the Year and featured on the All-WCC women’s golf team.
Mateo put on one of the great seasons in the program’s history as she recorded a 73.53 stroke average on her way to top-15 finishes in nine of ten tournaments, including four in the top-3 and scoring a team-low in eight of ten events.
“Allysha Mae had an incredible year and it’s incredibly satisfying for me to see her hard work pay off,” said Roberts. “She has been one of the steadiest players I’ve ever coached. She’s invaluable to our success.”
Mateo’s awards culminated in an individual selection to compete at the NCAA Stanford Regional on May 10-12. There, Mateo would finish tied for 52nd with a 54-hole score of 74-73-76—223.
Mateo came in at No. 138 in the final Golfstat top-250 player rankings. This made the BYU junior one of only four WCC golfers included in the poll and the highest ranked among them.
In looking back on the season, Roberts also highlighted the improvement she saw from Galeai and junior Annick Haczkiewicz.
“This was a solid first semester for Lila,” said Roberts. “She grew tremendously and helped us make a strong attempt at the WCC Championships.”
While only a freshman, Galeai made the Cougars’ lineup in seven of ten tournaments and posted her first career top-10 finish at the Spring Classic.
Haczkiewicz rebounded from a slump at the season’s start to a 12th place finish at the WCC Championship.
“I’m so proud of Annick and what she overcame this year,” said Roberts. She always battled and was tough for us at the end of the season.”
As the team enters the offseason, they are focused on learning from this season’s let down at the WCC tournament and preparing now to win in 2022.
“When there is disappointment there is also opportunity. The girls are fired up and working hard to learn and grow from that experience.”
In addition to the current roster’s return, the Cougars will be reinforced in 2021-22 by incoming freshman Alexa Udom and Adeline Anderson.