GOLF NCAA REGIONAL PREVIEW

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VCU Golf punched its ticket to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2010 on April 27 when it captured the A-10 Championship. The Rams are off to the Briggs Ranch Golf Club May 15-17 in San Antonio, Texas. Our own Mike Voyack recently caught up with the team to look ahead to NCAA play.

THE YEAR IN VCU ATHLETICS, FROM A TO Z

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Wrong A-B-C...whatever, close enough.

Wrong A-B-C…whatever, close enough.

June marks the conclusion of the college athletics calendar, and July’s arrival effectively signals the beginning of the 2013-14 season, at least for those of us in the biz, anyway. It all makes this week a good time to reflect back on the year that was in VCU Athletics.

A – is for Atlantic 10 Conference, in which, according to our slogan, the Rams were ‘all-in’. We were also all-in for another season of “Arrested Development” and Pop Tart ice cream sandwiches, so we’re having a good year. VCU competed in the A-10 for the first time in 2012-13, a move that has elevated the program’s national profile. The Rams’ first A-10 title came via the women’s tennis squad, followed by a men’s tennis crown days later. Meanwhile, several other sports (men’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer) reached the league’s championship final.

B – is for the Ball family, one of the driving forces behind the VCU Golf program. They’re like the Kennedy’s of VCU Golf, but with a better short game. Matt Ball may have just completed his 14th season with the Rams, but this one was surely different than the others. That’s because 40 percent of his starting lineup was occupied by sons Adam and Matt Jr. Son Adam, a freshman, led the Rams in scoring average (73.53) this year, while Matt Jr., a junior, placed seventh at the A-10 Championship and was named to the league’s All-Academic Team.

C – is for Courtney Conrad, the alliteratively named star of the women’s soccer team. Conrad led the Rams with 11 goals, including five game-winners, and received All-Mid-Atlantic by the NSCAA.

D – is for Daniels, Troy. If you are a fan of basketball players who score three points at a time (and the signed, obscure Mark Price picture in my dining room proves I am), then you would’ve enjoyed Daniels’ 2012-13 season. In 36 games, Daniels bombed a school-record 124 three-pointers, including games of 11, nine and eight.

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THE RAM REPORT – SPRING 2013

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The Ram Report is near and dear to my heart. A new issue arrived in print about 10 days ago, and now it’s live on the interwebs as well. As always, I’m appreciative of the excellent design put forth by Eddie Johnson, as well as the editorial contributions from other folks in the department. Check out great features on new volleyball coach Jody Rogers, former VCU Baseball pitcher Ian Thomas, current Ram closer Matt Lees and the Ball family, the first family of VCU Golf, and more!

Click to view:
RR-cover

MCNULTY IS LAST IN, FIRST OUT

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Freshman Jake McNulty started playing golf competitively just three years ago.

RICHMOND, Va. – Although he’s a year early, Jake McNulty may be right on time.

McNulty, a 17-year-old freshman, will be the No. 1 golfer in VCU’s lineup Sept. 15-16 when the Rams open the year at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C. McNulty earned the No. 1 position after winning VCU Coach Matt Ball’s six-round (108-hole) qualifier. It’s a remarkable development, given that McNulty wasn’t even supposed to be on the team a little over a month ago.

A native of Port Perry, Ontario, where he participated in a Canadian Juniors program led by former VCU great Reg Millage, McNulty was Ball’s top recruiting target for 2013. Although he graduated from Port Perry High School in 2012, McNulty had planned to wait a year before enrolling in college, due in large part to his age.

But on July 30, Ball says he was informed that top golfer Marc Dobias would not be returning to the program, so he reached out to McNulty to see if he would be interested in VCU this year. McNulty visited the Richmond campus on Aug. 12 and committed the same day. He returned for good on Aug. 20.

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THE FAMILY BUSINESS

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Matt Ball Jr. didn’t exactly finish his first round of golf with a flourish.

“He played 17 holes at age three,” Matt’s father and VCU Golf Coach Matt Ball said. “And just conked out, exhausted. He didn’t make it to the 18th hole. He played from 150-yard markers and he’d hit it, run and chase it, hit it, run and chase it. He’d stop for frogs and stuff.”

Matt Jr. doesn’t remember that round or the subsequent nap, but he’s been playing golf as long as he can remember. When your dad is a golf coach, it only seems natural to find a home on the links.

“I’ve never known anything different,” Matt Jr. said. “It’s just part of life for me. It’s that much integrated into our family. That’s how we were raised, playing golf. It never really crossed my mind to not play golf.”

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