The Friars are going into this year with what head coach Joe Konrad boldly said is "certainly Fenwick's best girls' golf team ever."
The statement isn't off base. After finishing with a 10-2 record and advancing to the State tournament for the first time ever last year, the Friars are in position to be one of the top teams in the state.
"We should be ranked in the state for the first time ever this year," said Konrad.
The coach's preseason confidence comes from the depth that he feels his team has, with three of his top six players seniors, and also a mix of talented underclassmen.
"We have a real decent team across the board," he said. "The girls are all within three or four strokes of each other."
The Friars' top golfer will likely be Erin Sullivan, a senior who made it to State individually as a sophomore in 2003 and was also a part of Fenwick's State team last year.
"She's a pure leader, and our best golfer," said Konrad of Sullivan, who finished 22-over in last year's tournament, including seven pars in the final round.
Sullivan will be supported by sophomore Lisa Joyce, who won second place in the nation in a long drive contest this summer. Erin Kielty, a senior, will play third, and Nicole Mentone, a sophomore, will play fourth. Senior Laura Gill will play fifth, and Eileen Sullivan will play sixth. Kielty had six pars in the State tournament final round, and finished 9-over on the day.
"We are usually really good [with two or three players]," said Konrad, "but this year, all of the girls are within three or four strokes of each other."
Because of that depth, Konrad hopes that the Friars will finish in the top 10 at State this year, something that eluded them last year with their 15th place finish.
The Friars have already played their first invite of the season, at Marian Catholic, and they open their Chicago Catholic League season Sept. 1 against Providence.
Last year, the Friars finished second in the CCL, behind Marian, who also handed the Friars one of their two losses in dual meets. The Friars, however, hope to put that behind them and are looking to fight for the top spot.
The Chicago Sun-Times had Fenwick ranked No. 2 in its preseason poll, second to Lyons Township.