Chesterton’s Cara Kroeger is no stranger to sectional tournament play, even though the freshman will make her postseason debut at Valparaiso Country Club on Saturday.
Kroeger, who has played at the No. 1 position all season for the Trojans, spent the past few seasons watching her older sister Marisa compete for Chesterton.
“I went to so many of her matches, and I watched and have seen sectionals and regionals and state, so I am ready for it,” she said.
Her average for nine holes is just under 41, and Trojan coach Dale Hewitt said that is due to her ability to remain level-headed.
“She doesn’t let things bother her too much,” he said. “She’s pretty smart. There are times where kids hit driver when they shouldn’t, and she has her six-iron that she hits pretty far. She will pull it out and hit that.”
Kroeger has not felt pressure playing in the No. 1 position in her first year on the team.
“I had great shoes to fill from Kelly (Grassel),” she said. “I loved watching her. I get to play with great players like (Valpo’s) Harley Dubsky. It’s great for the future. I love having that experience.”
Added Hewitt: “She’s played with the best players in the state, and a lot of schools have good players at the top. Nothing seems to bother her. She plays well and seems to enjoy who she is playing with.”
Hewitt had a sense before the season started that Kroeger was going to be a very strong player from watching her play a practice round at the Brassie.
“I walked with her for four or five holes,” he said. “She was crushing the ball and shot even-par. I was pretty impressed.”
Kroeger’s iron play on approach shots has helped her have a successful season, and when her driver is giving her problems, she does not hesitate using the six-iron.
“It’s one of my best clubs,” she said. “I can pull it out on any tee and hit it about as long as a normal driver. I never have problems with it going right or left.”
In addition to feeling comfortable heading into sectional play, Kroeger also feels comfortable because the Trojans have played at Valparaiso Country Club this season.
“It is such a hard course, and having the advantage of having played a tournament there is helpful,” she said. “I’m really excited to see how the team does.
"I think we will have a great team day.”