Lakeview coach Mike Turco approached senior Alyssa Lang as she walked on to the tee box at hole No. 18.
Lang was unaware of it at the time, but her score at the Division II girls golf tournament would determine whether the Bulldogs advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history. Lang shot a 47 on the front nine at Tam O'Shanter Golf Course in Canton, and if she equaled that score on the back nine, giving her a 94, Lakeview moved on.
"So I walked out and I said, 'Alyssa, are you doing better or worse on the back nine?' - trying to get out of her how she's doing," Turco said. "She didn't give me the answer I wanted. She actually told me, 'Well, it depends on what I do on the last hole.' I showed no emotion at that time for her sake."
Lang shot a six on the final hole, and since Turco and the rest of the Bulldogs didn't want to alert her that this would decide their state-tournament fate, no one knew if it was good enough at the time.
"I yelled out to her, 'What'd you get?,' " said Turco as he awaited Lang's final score. "She said, '96.' And we all kind of sighed because we knew what she needed to do. But she glanced down real fast again, and she said, 'Wait a second. 93!' And we just erupted. It was pretty cool. She was really the hero today, and it was great to have your senior do that."
Lang's 93 meant Lakeview finished with a team score of 357, two strokes better than fourth-place Canton Central Catholic. Considering only the top three teams go on to the state tournament, that was a pretty big deal, especially since the Bulldogs have never advanced to that point before Tuesday.
Lakeview's Kaylee Neumeister shot a team-low 84, which Turco called an "off day," while Ryan Rosenberger carded an 89, Ashley Frasca a 91 and then Lang's 93. Lang is usually the Bulldogs' fifth player, meaning her score isn't always used, but on this day, she was on her game.
"You kind of never know what you're going to get out from Alyssa," Turco said with a laugh. "She's either on or she really struggles. And today, on the first hole when she drove, I kind of knew (it was going to be a good day). When she drives well off the tee, she's usually in for a pretty decent day. We needed her today, and she ended up being the hero."
Lakeview now plays Oct. 11 and 12 at the Ohio State University's Gray course. The Bulldogs were the only Trumbull County team to advance in Division II. Hawken finished first with a score of 339, and Beaumont was second at 352. Poland's Melinda Hannon moved on as an individual as she shot a 78 to place second. She tied with two other players, including LaBrae's Haylee Harford. A three-way playoff took place to determine which two moved on, and Hannon and Canton Central Catholic's Michele Vlacovsky edged out Harford, a junior who won the Division II state tournament as a freshman.
Winning it all isn't necessarily the goal for Lakeview. Turco admits the ultimate goal for the season was to make it to state. Now that they're there, he just wants them to enjoy it.
"I knew they had enough talent to go to state," he said. "Basically what I told them today after the tournament was now, it's time to go have some fun."
They had plenty of it on Tuesday.