Costello: ‘Our ceiling is endless’

By Web Master

By TIM RATH

Sports Editor

Next April, the eyes of the Summit League golf community will be squarely on Oakland University.

Although an official date has not been announced yet, golf coach Brian Costello said that OU will be hosting the Summit League Golf Championship sometime in April.

However, he’s not content with the mere publicity that hosting the open is sure to provide. He believes that the women’s golf team can use the home course advantage to make some serious noise.

“For a long time, we’ve been very good, but we’ve played second fiddle to Oral Roberts,” he said. “We have a good opportunity to dethrone them this year, playing on one of the toughest courses around, a course that no [Summit League rivals] have seen yet. We can dominate the Summit League if we can get past them.”

It’s not just the home course advantage that gives Costello confidence.

The women’s golf program welcomes back five out of the ten players from last year’s squad, including junior Austin McDermaid, who led the team with 79.84 stroke average in 2007 and senior Nikki Swan who won the Huskie Invite with a season-low 74 in round one and a 76 score in round two to lead OU to a second-place finish.

They’ll be joined by incoming freshman phenom Elizabeth Ecker, who won medalist honors at the Michigan Girls Junior State Amateur Golf Championship in June and is expected to contribute to the team immediately.

“[Ecker] is extremely talented, and Nikki and Austin will push her to become one of our hardest workers,” Costello said. “In turn, she’ll push them to be the absolute best they can be as well.”

Costello said that he was not concerned with whether or not Ecker can handle the challenge as a freshman.

“We’re throwing kids into the fire here, and that’s exciting for them,” he said. “They turn down offers from bigger schools so that they can come here and play as freshmen and not just watch from the side.”

Costello said that he also was not concerned with whether or not the freshman presence would be a hinderance to the team.

“It’s up to the freshmen to play like upperclassmen by the time we get to the conference championship,” he said. “We can compete for the title if they can do that.”

The women’s golf season begins Sept. 13 at the University of Michigan Tournament in Ann Arbor.