BELLEVILLE — The Belleville East Lancers opened the 2013 season with several golfers capable of shooting scores in the mid-to-high 70s on any given day.
Than, there are the off days.
Heading into the St. Clair County Tournament on Monday at Tamarack Country Club, and less than two weeks removed from the start of practice, East coach Terry Neutzling has already seen the good and bad sides of his Lancers.
"I knew we had some kids back who played on the team last year and are pretty good players," Neutzling said, "but that we also had a lot players on the team who didn't have much, if any varsity experience. I thought we might struggle a little bit early then improve as the season went on.
"Then we go out and play very well a couple of days in tryouts and I'm thinking that we might be better than maybe I expected. But at the Alton Tee-Off Classic at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course we go up and play very poorly. We can play well. We did it in tryouts. It's just a matter of doing it on a consistent basis.''
Led by senior Michael Fuehne and junior Matt Holl, the Lancers could be one of the top teams in the Southwestern Conference this season.
Junior Justin Servos also returns after seeing a little time on East's varsity a year ago and should combine with Fuehne and Holl for a capable trio at the top of its lineup.
Fuehne should be one of the SWC's top players. A solid all-around player with a good short game, Fuehne qualified for the Class 3A Pekin Sectional a year ago.
Fuehne gave what Neutzling hopes will be an indication of things to come Thursday, when he fired a four-under-par 33 to finish second at the Triple Lakes Classic.
"Michael played well at the end of last season and we're looking for him to carry that over and have a good senior season. He hits the ball long off the tee and he can go low when the putts are falling,'' Neutzling said. "We're also looking for him to be one of our leaders.''
Holl, who struggled to a 44 at Triple Lakes, also is capable of breaking 40 each time out, while seniors Allen Rauckman, Jon Kreher and Andrew Hardy, along with Servos, round out the Lancers' top six to start the season.
Neutzling hopes he can find four scores right around the 40 mark each round.
"If we can be right around 155-160 each night, we're going to win some matches,'' Neutzling said.
Rounding out the Lancers' varsity are seniors Dalton Brockman, Elliot Kinney and Joseph Ferreri, along with sophomore David Rauckman.