Stafford Leader Spring Sports Previews

Plenty of New Faces on Southern Regional Golf Squads

Apr 12, 2019

Graduating three top-notch golfers who had led a squad for several season generally takes a big toll on a high school program for at least a year. Fortunately, that’s not the case for the Southern Regional boys golf team.

“We were hard hit by graduation, losing three players who were three- or four-year starters in Caleb Rossi, Nick Campanelli and Chris D’Alessandro,” said coach Jeff Reilly. “In addition, Ethan Leming was a major contributor and he also graduated. However, we feel we have a talented group of golfers who are ready to compete this spring.”

No doubt, the loss of Rossi, Campanelli and D’Alessandro hurts – just the drop in varsity leadership and experience alone makes a huge difference. But Reilly often has found through the years that the solidity of his program is such that when three really fine golfers graduate, a whole new batch rises to fill the void. That looks to be what has happened again.

The only returning player from among the top five of a year ago is senior Peter Fabian, who’s been part of the team for four years, has a lot of experience and should be one of the major contributors this spring. The Rams’ sixth man from last season, junior Jon Sheehan, is expected to be one of the players who steps in and fills part of the void left behind by last year’s star players.

Behind them are several newcomers to Southern’s varsity squad, but a couple of them seem to have shown up at just the right time. Lasse Lehmann, a junior German exchange student, and junior Jeffrey Reilly Jr., the coach’s son who transferred to Southern from Christian Brothers Academy, have significant junior golf experience on the local and regional levels.

“The ability of this group of four players will play a major factor in determining our success this season,” Reilly said. “We expect to remain competitive at the division, Shore Conference and state levels.”

In addition to the Rams’ top-four players, seniors Stephen Oakes, who played a minor role toward last season’s 17-2 record, and Ronald Henefer will help bolster the lineup, as will junior Jason Sari.

With Toms River North again expected to be a really solid crew – Southern and North tied for the lead in Shore Conference Class A South last spring – it’s difficult to predict whether the Rams have enough talent and experience to win or share a division title for a ninth straight season, but Reilly definitely counts his squad as a viable contender just about anywhere.

“We will challenge ourselves by playing a very competitive schedule against strong golf schools and in competitive tournaments,” said the coach. “And we will compete in the Garden State Cup and The Palmetto Invitational for a third consecutive year. We have our work cut out for us, but the boys are looking forward to a fun season.”

As of April 5, the Rams were off to a 3-0 start. To open the season, Southern bounced Brick, 174-198. Lehmann led the way with a 38, followed by Reilly with a 44, and Sheehan and Fabian with scores of 45 and 47, respectively. In the Rams’ second match of the season, a 180-188 victory over Lacey, Lehmann again led the charge with a 42, followed by Sheehan’s 44, Oakes’ 46 and Fabian’s 47. Lehmann fired a 38 to lead Southern to a 177-196 win over Point Pleasant Borough on April 4, while Reilly added a 44, Sheehan carded a 45 and Fabian returned to the clubhouse with a 47.

As for the Southern girls, coach Jim McCabe has a squad full of brand-new golfers and only one among his five-girl crew is a junior, Brenna Cousins. The rest of the team consists of sophomores Erica Scheinberg and Julia Joannides as well as freshmen Mary Kate Reilly and Megan Caputo.

“We are a young team that is looking to improve and get competitive as the season goes on,” McCabe said.

Thus far, the Rams are 2-4. During a 205-225 loss to Lenape to open the season, Reilly led the way with a 45, followed by Cousins with a 55, Joannides with a 62 and Scheinberg with a 63. On April 2, Southern scored a combined 132 in a shortened contest with Barnegat (125), Toms River North (136) and Toms River East (137). Joannides and Cousins each tallied a 32, while Reilly carded a 33 and Scheinberg ended with a 35. On April 5, Reilly led with a 51, followed by a 60 from Cousins, a 61 from Caputo and a 64 from Scheinberg, but the Rams (237) were upended by Barnegat (215) and Central (232).

 David Biggy

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.