The University of Northern Iowa women's golf team ended their season by finishing eighth at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.
"We were a little disappointed in our performance at the end of the season," said head coach John Bermel. "Especially the way Sarah Boss played; we would have liked to finish higher."
The Panthers were led by senior Sarah Boss all season. Boss ended the year with the 11th best stroke average in the Missouri Valley Conference, at 73.37 in 27 rounds. She finished with four top-ten finishes; including a seventh place finish at the conference championship.
"It's been a long time since we've had any girl have that great of a season for us," he said. "She will be incredibly difficult to replace because of her talent and leadership skills on and off the course."
The obvious choice to fill that role next season will be sophomore Kaylee Benson.
Benson played well in the second spot all season, and will be asked to take on a bigger role next year. She finished 20th in the conference with a 78.44 stroke average in 27 rounds this season; and had three top 10 finishes of her own.
"Kaylee Benson will have to take on an even bigger leadership role next season," he said. "We are expecting some real great things from her this upcoming year."
Even though the Panthers will lose their top performer, Bermel expects his team to improve next season.
"We were so young this season, the experience we got was vital for our team," he said. "Next year will be the most athletic team I have ever had; there is not doubt in my mind we will be better."
Along with Benson, the Panthers will return a number of girls who competed at a high level, including freshman Allison Rolinger, sophomore Taylor Diehl, sophomore Sonja Przbylski, freshman Taylor VanDyk, and junior Alex Zenor.
"These returning girls will need to step up for us next season," he said. "They will be crucial to how successful our season will end up."
The Panthers will also have a multitude of incoming freshman that coach Bermel believes will compete from the day they step on campus.
"We have an extremely talented class coming in next season," said Bermel. "We are going to have at least eight or nine girls competing for spots."
If you ask Bermel what his team needs to improve on to finish where they want to be next season, his answer is fairly simple.
"We just need to find a way to get the ball in the hole quicker," he said. "The short game is the most important aspect of golf, and that is something that we have to get better at."