When a coach has a team without a lot of participants, the least he can ask for is a good attitude out of the athletes he has.
For Cloverdale girls' golf coach Ken Williams, his four golfers certainly don't want for positive attitudes.
"I don't have anything bad to say about my girls, we're just not scoring very well. We're thrilled to have all four of them, even though we'd like to have more," Williams said.
For a small golf program, four is certainly the magic number, as this is the number required to post a team score in matches.
The Clover golfers include returning juniors Kayla Langdon and Elizabeth Wiley. They are joined by two rookies in sophomore Erica Looper and freshman Victoria Boyette.
Langdon was the centerpiece of the Clovers' attack last year, as she had a very strong sophomore season in which she qualified for regional.
"Kayla's one of the best golfers around in my mind," Williams said. "She hasn't really posted a tremendous score this year, but I think it will come if she's able to be consistent."
"She's so good around the green with her chips and putts. She's driving the ball so much better this year than she did last year," he continued. "It's just a matter of time before she starts posting consistent low 40s and competes with the best around, if she isn't already."
Langdon is joined by classmate Wiley. Although Wiley earned a letter last season, she has still surprised the coach with the strength of her play early this year.
"She's averaging 53 right now, and a year ago at this time, she was averaging 68. That's what I'm looking for," Williams said. "She has worked so hard and played a lot this summer. She's very competitive. She wants to do well, and I think golf is one of her main priorities right now. That accounts for why she's doing so well and why she's improved so much."
Wiley has even gotten her scores within shouting distance of Langdon, a fact that Williams says should be encouraging to his younger golfers. Like them, Wiley had not played much before last season.
"I keep telling my three and four girls that a year ago Elizabeth was shooting in the 135 to 140 range like Victoria is right now. But Elizabeth shot a 101 (Tuesday) at Rea Park and came within six strokes of Kayla. She actually beat Kayla on the back nine. We never would've dreamed that last year," Williams said.
Although putting two brand new golfers into varsity matches will be tough, the coach looks forward to watching their progression and the upside they could have.
"We have a challenge and life's full of challenges," Williams said. "I'm looking forward to working with Victoria and Erica. They're both good kids and working very hard.
"Victoria, in particular, has played a lot of golf since June or so," he continued. "I just mentioned that they should all be out here on Saturday or Sunday; she'll be out here both days, I would bet. She plays a lot, and she's improving rapidly. We're hoping Erica can come along also. If those two can come along and get down into reasonable scores, whatever those might be, we can be competitive with some people. Our No. one and two girls are both pretty strong and improving."
When it comes to season goals, the coach mostly sees the season as a work in progress. To set his sights on county and WCC might be a bit much, but he simply wants to how see things develop.
"We have hopes of competing in the county and conference, but realistically that won't happen unless we have some surprising three and four scores. You don't want to give up on a season this early. Miraculous things can happen, so we'll just see what happens," Williams said.
But as mentioned before, his girls certainly have plenty of potential for improvement, which can be an exciting thing.
"We're definitely shooting for the end of the season. I guess the bright spot is some of our rookies, who have really never been on a course before, will have a chance to cut off more strokes than the ones who are shooting 85s and 90s. You can't cut too many strokes off those, but you can cuts strokes off of 150 and 140 kind of rapidly if we can chip and putt at all," Williams concluded.