Despite losing three seniors to graduation, the Northview girls' golf squad could have a lot to look forward to this season.
Last year, the Knights finished with an 8-5 record in dual matches. NHS placed third in the sectional, advancing to regional competition.
This season, Northview has a chance to duplicate that record or surpass it with four of its top five golfers back.
Gone are Savanah Pursell, Allie Melega and Ali Rentschler.
However, the Knights have their top two golfers back from last year in seniors Mandy Thomlinson and Olivia Oehler.
Also back this season are fellow senior Allison Trout, along with juniors Hayley Miller and Shelby French, sophomores Macey Lynch, Kylee Orr and Hillary Thomas, and newcomer Kaylee Mason.
Despite having only nine players on the 2009 squad, NHS coach Josh Trout expects to see improvement from last year.
"(The numbers) are a little low," Trout said. "In the years I've coached, we've had about 12. But the nine we have are a pretty solid nine."
Trout said he believes the experience Thomlinson and Oehler both share will only help the remaining players.
"They're seasoned varsity golfers that are used to the pressure," he said of the duo, who are entering their third year of varsity play.
"I expect good things from them, along with the other girls."
Thomlinson said she thinks the 2009 Knights could put together a good season.
"I think we have the capability," she said. "It's just putting it together when the time comes."
Allison Trout also saw action in the sectional last season, coming away with Northview's fourth score.
Coach Trout, in his third year at the helm for the Knights, said his squad has taken several steps to improve a short game that got them in trouble from time to time in the past.
"Our biggest struggles were chipping and putting, which they have worked on," he said. "Our average putts were always high. If we can limit our putts and chips, that should make a difference."
"That's the biggest part of the game," Thomlinson added.
Trout said assistant coach Bob Treash and Forest Park Golf Course Pro Mark Rogers were vital in helping the players with their putting and chipping throughout the offseason.
Heading into this campaign, the Knights may have a target on their back when it comes to teams in the Western Indiana Conference as Northview has won the conference tournament two years running.
Trout said a third straight title is not out of the question.
"(The conference) ought to be pretty competitive," he said. "The teams in the WIC have improved. But I still think we have a chance to win it, but we'll have to bring our 'A' game."
Heading into a new year, Trout said he's pleased with what he sees.
"We should have a very solid group," he said. "They really worked hard in the offseason."
The NHS Girls' Golf squad will take part in the Brebeuf Invitational at the Woodwind Golf Course, Indianapolis Monday, at 8:30 a.m.