As the fall gives way to winter and tournament season winds down- New England Team Challenge is now upon us. Last year the Dacey Owls season ended in the first round of Play in Pool finals to an eventual South division champion Disc Hut 2, but the finals berth earned them a promotion to the newly formed E Pool for this season. Joining the Owls is a new team- The Ents – captained by Paul Sales and Nick Berry. Both teams have kicked off their seasons, so let’s see how they have been doing!
Ents Go to War
The Ents kicked off their season on October 6th on the road against the Newton Hill Talons. The Ents jumped out to an early 9.5-7.5 lead highlighted by big wins from Brian Lively (7&6) and Will Duby (7&5) and a dominating showing by the lady Ents Caley Allen and Bri Reeves (8&6 & 7&6 wins, respectively). The Ents extended their lead in the doubles rounds in part due to matching hot round 49s from the Ben Tucker/Tony Lyons and Paul Sales/Alex Mahnken pairings to win their inaugural match 19.5-14.5.
The Ents stayed active on the road traveling to Middleboro on October 20th to take on the newly formed Sunnymeade Knights. The Ents found themselves down 2 going into lunch despite another dominant performance from Bri (8&6 victory) and an 8&7 victory from Terry Belmosto. The Ents not only overcame the deficit, but also a match up mess up from the opposing captain to win the match 17-15. The match was closely contested and came down to the final card where the Zack Pepin/James Thomas pair sealed the deal in extra holes to tilt the score in the Ents favor.
“We’ve been incredibly impressed by the dedication shown by the team so far. All of our players have had difficult matches against tough competition on the road, and everyone is answering the bell. It feels great to start the season with 2 wins on the road, but we know it will only get harder from here” said captain Paul Sales. ” The camaraderie, sportsmanship, and positive mentality is contagious. Both teams contain amazing individuals who all contribute and push each other to excel,” added Co-Captain Nick Berry.
The Ents are off for the month of November. Sitting at 2-0 before even taking to their home forest, the Ents are establishing themselves as the team to beat in PiP South.
Owls Defend the Nest
The Owls started their season a little later, opening up at home on October 27th against a strong Bittersweet Ridge team from Maine. Not only did the Owls need to contend with a capable squad, but they also needed to battle the elements as a Nor’Easter rolled into town bringing driving rain, and ripping winds from sun up to sun down.
The Owls edged BSRII 12.5-7.5 in a very hotly contested singles rounds. Of the 20 matches, 15 of them went 17 or more holes pointing towards the equal skill of the teams and the effect of the weather. The Owls got gutsy performances from Anthony Stewart who battled back from 4 down on the back nine to push his match, and from Dave Beadenkopf who erased a 3 hole deficit to win his match 2&1. “Dave’s match was fun to watch. It was the two highest rated players on the course going on it” said captain Alex Sakash who was on the card, “Dave got down 3 holes early, but stayed calm and ended up running off wins on holes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 to not only claw back, but put it away. He just played smart, mistake free golf. It was fun to watch.”
The Owls split the doubles round with BSR, each side taking 10 points a piece. The Owls got wins from the Jeremiah Libby/Dave Leger, Nate Lundstrom/Corey Robitaille, Greg Dowdell/Andy Jong, Paul Pacheco/Dave Beadenkopf and the Alex Sakash/Tara Scansaroli pairs to take the match 22.5-17.5.
Not only were 40 brave (or stubborn) souls out on the course competing in that weather, but a handful of Dacey regulars stopped by to lend a hand setting up, writing on the board, and caddying. “We had so many non-team members out yesterday to support us, it was humbling” said captain Chuck Edman. Members of the Ents as well as a few Dacey regulars came out to cheer on the Owls, and their support was much appreciated!
The Dacey community has been super supportive of both teams. “I never thought I would play some form of competitive sports again after High School, however here I am, Captain of the Dacey Ents constantly being motivated by my team and members/captains of the Owls” wrote Berry, “This season so far has been incredible.” Added Sales “We are also thrilled to have the support of the Dacey Owls, who not only have showed up to cheer us on at both of our away matches, but who’s captains have also gone above and beyond in mentoring us new captains through this process.”
Both teams set goals for themselves at the beginning of the season that they wanted to be known across the league as a great group of guys and gals who play pretty well- and both teams have succeeded at leaving a mark both on and off the course. “I want to thank all the participants for your generous donations for the Middleboro Food Pantry as well as your courteous and respectful behavior here at Sunnymeade,” Richard Giampietro, owner of Sunnymeade wrote of the Ents, “a class act group of players if I do say so myself.”
“It always makes me happy to see our match update posts on the TC page getting lots of Owl gifs, emojis, and comments from teams we’ve competed against” wrote Alex Sakash, “we’ve made a lot of friends a long the way here and it says a lot about our guys and gals when former opponents are pulling for us afterwards.”
Teams Dacey look to maintain their perfect 3-0 combined record in the coming months.
The Owls head north on November 11th for a match in Maine against Devil’s Grove. This is going to be the biggest test of the season for the Owls, as Devil’s was the top seeded team from the North division last year at 7-1 and is tough at home.
The Owls will be home again on December 8th to take on Team Rhode Island looking to even up the series with RI after dropping their match at South Kingston last November.
The Ents will finally be taking to home turf on December 15th, when they welcome Team Nantucket to the mainland. This will be third time Nantucket has played against a team from Dacey. The Owls beat Nantucket at home in a blizzard in 2017, and then won an overtime thriller last year on the island. The Ents hope to continue their hot start and carry on the courses winning ways against Nantucket.