Following the previous day's division-clinching win over Darien by four strokes, Fairfield Warde girls golf coach Brian Crocker told the Mustangs to take an approach out of the norm just a few minutes before teeing-off with Fairfield Ludlowe Wednesday afternoon at the H. Smith Richardson Golf Course. He told them to have fun.
"I told them to have a good time and don't put any pressure on themselves," Crocker said after Warde's 198-210 victory in an FCIAC East match.
Warde, led by medalist Sarah Vimini's 44, played in a relaxed manner on balance and earned its second win over the Falcons in a week. The Mustangs beat Ludlowe 188-211 on May 15 at Smith Richardson.
The Mustangs, who improved to 9-4 overall and 8-0 in the FCIAC East, got solid rounds from senior captain Bailey Cooke, who shot a 45, freshman Nadia Caputo (57) and senior captain Kathleena Inchoco (57). The Falcons, whose records dropped to 4-7 overall and 3-4 in the division, were paced by senior Meghan Maciejewski's 47 and senior Kate O'Neill's 49.
"It was a good victory," Crocker said. "The girls really didn't have any pressure on them, beating Darien yesterday to win the division and qualifying for the FCIACs. To break 200 on this course is a good accomplishment. We had a couple of blowups on the par 5s.
"I'm proud of how we did in the season," Crocker said. "This is a team with five girls who were part of a team last year that had two wins. They went from two wins to nine wins in one season."
Ludlowe coach Mary Ellen Corbiere left the course upbeat after how the Falcons collectively shot.
"That's kind of their game," Corbiere said of the round of 210. "That's where they've been all year. Our putting was really good today, and our short game was good. That's what we were working on in practice yesterday (Tuesday)."
Corbiere noted the consistent season-long improvement of Maciejewski, and she was impressed with O'Neill's round.
The Mustangs drawing Crocker's attention were the seniors, Inchoco and Cooke, playing the last matches of their careers on their home course. "I think the team dedicated the seasons to them," he said. Inchoco will play at Wellesley in college next spring and Cooke will attend the University of Virginia, Crocker said, noting their ability to balance academics with athletics.
"Both of them were part of a team that went 15-1 as freshmen," Crocker said. "Then we fell off (10-5 in 2011-12). They've both worked really hard all year."
Bragging rights seemed to be an afterthought for the cross-town rivals. The first foursome -- O'Neill and junior Mary Essex (57) for Ludlowe and junior Vimini and Cooke for Warde -- stepped off the ninth hole and a Falcons' player snapped a photo of her two Mustangs' counterparts on her smart phone.
Smiles all around and encouragement for good shoots by opponents are parts of the atmosphere Corbiere and Crocker have created when the two schools meet.
"We look forward to playing each other. It's always a good challenge," Corbiere said.
"We're friendly on a personal level," Crocker said of his professional relationship with Corbiere. "We have to work together for access to the facility and tee times. It has funneled down to the players. Courtesy and respect is expected from the players (of both teams) when they play each other and when they play other teams. And they delivered."
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Fairfield Warde 198, Fairfield Ludlowe 210 (at H. Smith Richardson Golf Course, par 36): FW--Sarah Vimini 44, Bailey Cooke 45, Nadia Caputo 54, Kathleena Inchoco 55. FL--Meghan Maciejewski 47, Kate O'Neill 49, Mary Essex 57, Sarah Gander 57. Records: Fairfield Warde 9-4, 8-0 FCIAC; Fairfield Ludlowe 4-7, 3-4 FCIAC.