Taking advantage

Falcons not wasting charitable early schedule

By: Redd E. Patrick
   The schedule maker has been kind to the Monroe High School golf team this season.
   Not only did he schedule three programs right off the bat that are young and struggling in the early going and who are all in the Blue Division of the GMC with Monroe, but he scheduled them all at home at the challenging Forsgate Country Club. Only one school in Middlesex County plays its home matches at Forsgate — Monroe.
   The Falcons, who are also young and trying to turn their program around, took a 3-0 record into yesterday’s home match with Cardinal McCarrick. Monroe beat Metuchen, South River and Middlesex.
   The Falcons have shot respectable golf, but they haven’t set the world on fire either, so playing at home has certainly been a big advantage. It’s also raised the confidence level since a 3-0 start hasn’t been exactly commonplace the last five years or so.
   "Playing at home has definitely been an advantage for us,” said coach Pete LoPresti, whose team will be at the West Nine in Plainfield today to take on John F. Kennedy of Iselin. "We’ve been fortunate. And winning the matches certainly gives the kids confidence. We play five of our first six matches at home, so that’s nice.”
   Junior Justin Rohrig and senior Anthony Barbato have led the Falcons, as expected, at the No. 1 and 2 spots in the lineup.
   "Justin’s been playing real well,” said LoPresti. "Anthony’s been a little up and down, but I think those two will be real steady for us. They’re both capable of coming in with real low scores.”
   Freshman Doug Rohrig has come along nicely as LoPresti had been hoping, while sophomore Danny Kunigonis has been solid at the No. 3-4 spot.
   At the important 5 and 6 spots, Monroe has used three different lineups in the three matches. Seniors Steve Loufek and Drew Konowicz, junior Owen Fitzgerald and sophomore Aaron Gunkelman have all had chances and will continue to do so until someone steps up to solidify those final two spots.
   "We’re trying to create a competitive atmosphere,” said LoPresti. "That No. 5 spot is going to be so important for us because we think we will have a steady score from 1-4, but we have to avoid the real big scores from there.
   "But the kids have showed some promise and they’re coming along.”
   And of course a big thanks goes out to the schedule maker.