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Maddia leads by example, on and off the links

Anna Fricano | Thursday, September 29, 2005

Some leaders get the job done by being vocal, and then there are those who simply do their job well and leave an example for others to follow.

Megan Mattia, a senior on the nationally ranked Saint Mary’s golf team, is definitely a member of the second breed. In her four years with the Belles team, Mattia has been a quiet presence both on and off the golf course.

But in terms of results, her impact could hardly be more visible.

During the fall 2005 season alone, Mattia has finished first for Saint Mary’s in six out of six appearances, and took first place overall in the three conference jamborees in which the team participated. Earlier this fall when Saint Mary’s competed in the Notre Dame Invitational, Mattia ended with a top-20 finish out of a pool of more than 80 Division-I golfers.

But her success this season has hardly come as a surprise to the golf program. Since her freshman year, Mattia has been awarded All-MIAA honors three times, and has finished in the top 10 during every conference championship. Head coach Mark Hamilton came to Saint Mary’s in the same year that Mattia did, and recalled her first experience in college-level competition, as well as how much she has grown since.

“She was rather quiet [as a freshman], but I could tell she was a good golfer,” Hamilton said. “In her first tournament she was rather nervous … and shot a score I’m sure she’d like to forget … but she became more accustomed to playing college golf and has blossomed into probably the most consistent player that I’ve had for the school.”

And it is exactly that consistency that Mattia has used to lead the way for her team this year. She may not be the most vocal person on the team, but then golf was never designed to be a vocal sport.

Mattia has done an outstanding job so far this year of helping to fill the big shoes left by last year’s extremely successful senior class. At the beginning of the fall, Mattia spoke about her goals for her last season with the Belles.

“Individually I just want to play really well…to make first team all-conference, to keep improving, and to score well. And I really want to win conference,” Mattia said.

So far everything is right on track for all of the golfer’s goals to be met this year. The Belles are in perfect position to take the conference title for a fourth year in a row, and Mattia has been consistently finishing rounds in the high 70s and low 80s.

With her success at the conference competitions, she is likely to earn MIAA honors for her fourth and final year, and will look to lead her team to another NCAA appearance in the spring.

And to be successful at that, Mattia will only need to do more of what she has been doing. She has been to three NCAA championships and is about to win her fourth MIAA title with the Belles, giving her enough experience in the program to have an impact on any team.

“I think she shows people how to shoot low scores on the golf course,” Hamilton said. “She knows she shouldn’t get rattled. She’ll stay the course and keep working at it and good things will happen.

“I expect her to keep doing what she’s doing, playing solidly and being Megan. “She’s got the experience … and she never fails me.”