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Women’s golf comes up short at MVC Championship

Jillian Cosler hits a drive during the MVC Championship in Waterloo, Illinois on April 15-16, 2024. Photo courtesy of Bradley Athletics.

Bradley women’s golf took the course for the Missouri Valley Conference Championship April 14-15. Despite their hot start in the first two rounds that put them in fifth place, their third-round finish bumped them to eighth.

“We prepared the best we could have,” head coach Halley Morell said. “We were coming off a second-place finish at EKU. Our conference championship isn’t like basketball; you’re looking at a combination of a year-long effort where you know how you’ve done.”

In the first round, senior Grace Aromando and freshman Jillian Cosler both got 76’s. Graduate student Mara Flaherty and sophomore Allison Pacocha followed suit with 78’s, while junior Maria Perakis closed out the first round with an 84, giving the Braves a total of 308 after round one.

With her performances this season culminating in a 12th place finish this week, Cosler took home the MVC Newcomer of the Year award. She had three top-10 finishes and two top-20 finishes in her first year of Division I, so for her, this is only the beginning.

“It’s pretty awesome, it’s a testament to the hard work that I’ve put in this year,” Cosler said. “It’s a motivator to keep moving forward and hopefully win an MVP in the next three years that I have here, not just the Newcomer of the Year.”

In the second round, Cosler started the Braves off strong with a 74, followed closely by a 75 from Perakis and a 76 from Pacocha. Aromando finished with a 79 while Flaherty stroked an 80. Bradley shot their lowest round of the tournament at 304.

The third round illustrated a similar pattern as the second. Cosler finished with a 75, and Aromando was right behind her with a 76. Flaherty followed up her worst round of the meet with a 77 and Perakis ended the pattern with a 78. Pacocha finished off the third round for Bradley with an 81, ending the team’s tournament with a 306.

“I’m proud of EKU cause I did finish second, but in my last round at conference I started horribly through the first two holes and I finished the round extremely strong,” Cosler said. “Seeing my growth over the whole year, if I had started those first two holes in my first tournament at Bradley, I would not have finished as well as I did.”

“Just seeing my growth over the year in that last round was awesome,” Cosler said.

That concludes the women’s golf season, one where the team took home first-place finishes for the first time in seven years and Aromando became the first Brave to win an individual title since 2021.

Still, Morell thinks the year could’ve ended better.

“The season did not end how we wanted it to,” Morell said. “We were ranked second in the conference and eighth place isn’t what we attempted to finish as.”

“But, if I look over the whole season of fall and spring, we had one of the best years we’ve ever had…We try not to let one tournament at the end dictate how good of a season we really had,” Morell added.

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