VA-Maryland girls win Mid-Atlantic Challenge

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. –– The eight-player Virginia-Maryland team posted a one-point win in final day singles matches to come away with a three-point triumph (7½-4½) over their Carolinas counterparts to capture the 10th Mid-Atlantic Girls’ Challenge, which concluded today at Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club.

Owners of a one-point lead following Saturday’s first day four-ball encounters, Virginia-Maryland notched a one-point victory, 4½-3½, in Sunday’s concluding singles matches. A team of juniors mixing Virginia and Maryland players against their North and South Carolina counterparts competed in the event.

Virginia-Maryland’s victory ended a seven-year dry spell in the matches. The team recorded its second win in the series since scoring its only victory in the event in 2003 at Pinewild Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

All told, the two teams halved the first four matches, but Virginia-Maryland won two matches and halved another the remainder of the way to outscore Carolinas by one point, 2½-1½, en route to the triumph.

In the early matches, northern Virginian Karishma Thiagaraj (Haymarket) continued her strong play, ousting Taelor Rubin (Raleigh, N.C.), 3 and 2. Meanwhile, central Virginian Lyberty Anderson, 15, of Chesterfield posted a 2 and 1 win over Emiley Pagrabs (Wilmington, N.C.) in match four. Anderson, the three-time reigning Richmond Women’s Golf Association Amateur champion, won Nos. 16 and 17 to score an important win for Virginia-Maryland. Carolinas claimed encounters two and three, with Chelsey Couch (Ware Shoals, S.C.) and Sarah Bae (Cary, N.C.) each contributing wins. Couch was a 3 and 1 victor, while Bae won 1 up.

With Virginia-Maryland’s two-point edge still intact heading to the late stages, in match five, Sarah Brown (Severna Park, Md.) halved Kelsey Badmaev (Blythewood, S.C.). One encounter later, Kelli Murphy (Elgin, S.C.) delivered a 3 and 2 comeback win over Clare Connolly (Chevy Chase, Md.).

But Virginia-Maryland would have the final answer, capturing the final two encounters to secure victory. Maia Schechter (Takoma Park, Md.) posted a wire-to-wire 4 and 3 win over Allison Emrey (Charlotte, N.C.) in match seven. In the concluding match of the day, despite trailing early, Chesapeake’s Lauren Coughlin, playing in the event for the final time before heading off to the University of Virginia in the fall, ousted Elizabeth Thompson (Charleston, S.C.), 6 and 4. Coughlin took a one hole up lead in the late stages of the first nine before rolling to victory. Thompson, a record five-time event participant, is bound for Wofford (S.C.) College next month.

For Virginia-Maryland, Anderson, Coughlin and Thiagaraj paced the team over the weekend, earning all of the possible two points. Couch led the Carolinas team with two points.

ABOUT THE Mid-Atlantic Girls Challenge

Eight-player junior teams from Virginia-Maryland compete against their North and South Carolina counterparts in four-ball and singles matches.

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