Aug 28, 2013
STORRS, Conn. -- -
The UConn men's golf team is hoping the taste of success it experienced last year was just an appetizer for what lies ahead in 2013-14.
Led by co-captains Mike Masso (Suffield, Conn.) and Chris Wiatr (Woodbury, Conn.), the Huskies will begin the fall portion of their schedule over Labor Day weekend at the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate Tournament in Verona, N.Y. It is one of five tournaments in which UConn will compete over the next seven weeks.
As the Huskies look for a carryover from the end of last year, when they finished the season with four consecutive Top 10 finishes, one of them a team title in the New England D-I Championships, leadership will be extremely important.
Masso, a senior, will be a captain for the second straight year.
"Mike is a hardworking kid, an outstanding student, and a totally responsible guy," said UConn Coach Dave Pezzino. "As the leader of this team last spring, everything landed on Mike --- making sure the younger guys knew what was going on, that sort of stuff. This year, having to be the cop and the big brother will fall evenly on the two of them. You need one guy to be the hammer and one guy to be like an assistant coach ... `Here's what Coach meant. Here's what you need to be thinking.' "
Wiatr, a junior, has consistently been one of the top UConn performers on the golf course.
"This is going to be a great opportunity for Chris to take another step in his development as a player and a leader and a young man," Pezzino said. "It will be a great thing for him to be a part of. Mike is not a yell-at-you type of guy. He's going to say, `Hey, this is what we're going to do, this is how we're going to do it, now go get it done.' And Chris is the one who will make sure it gets done the way it needs to be done. They are both about being smart, making good decisions."
None of the Huskies has more success to carry over from last year than sophomore Zach Zaback
(Farmington, Conn.), who won two tournaments and was the team leader in scoring per round.
"Zach's just one of those kids who's only about going out and competing," Pezzino said. "He's not overly results-oriented. His focus is to have good results and be successful, of course, but having won twice already, it's not like he's trying to get over the hump. Now, he's just trying to take his game to another level."
Zaback wasn't all about golf this summer.
"He took a little time off to take some extra classes he wanted to take, so he could lighten his academic responsibilities later in his career," Pezzino said. "He's a forward thinker there.
"Zach is a lunch-pail type of kid. He knows what he has to do, then he works at it and gets it done. He's not a kid that thinks, `OK, I have to win.' He's just not wired that way. He's that quiet guy you want on your team who's going to work really hard and just worry about his own golf ball. He's not worried about things he can't control."
Following the Tiger Intercollegiate, a 36-hole event on Sunday and Monday, UConn will participate in the Adams Cup in Newport, R.I. (Sept. 16-17), the Hartford Hawks Invitational in South Kent, Conn. (Sept. 23-24), and the MacDonald Cup in New Haven (Oct. 5-6), before hosting its own tournament, The Connecticut Cup, at Ellington Ridge Country Club on Oct. 14-15.