LIVERMORE — Coming into the 2016 season, the Spruce Mountain golf team had only one win the past two years. The Phoenix’s fortunes changed this season as they made it all the way to the KVAC Class B South division semifinals, all while compiling six wins in 12 regular-season and playoff matches.

The season isn’t quite done, though, as they look to use Tuesday’s regional qualifier to make it to the Class B Team Championships on Oct. 8.

What has been the key to the Phoenix’s success this season is having the majority of the same players from last year’s team.

“No. 1, they have committed themselves to playing and you get better by playing,” Spruce Mountain golf coach Dianne Fenlason said. “They play at every opportunity they can. So they came in ready to go. The experience with seven seniors, five of them in the top six, that’s invaluable. They know how to compete at this point and they know how to hold onto a win. I think they gained confidence. Confidence breeds (success).”

The seven seniors are Lucas Alley, Trevor Doiron, Tyler Poisson, Noah Preble, Nate Steele, Cameron Mitchell and Abigail Moreau. Alley, Poisson, Preble, Steele and Mitchell have seen significant playing time in matches.

Fenlason had them write down short- and long-term goals at the beginning of the season. Some of those goals were not to have a double bogey on the card, another was shooting consistently in the 40s after they spent 2015 shooting in the 50s.

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“Our biggest goal was really (to) go out and show us what we can do and play to our full potential,” Poisson said. “We realized last year wasn’t our best and we had a lot more than what we did last year.”

While the seven players are teammates on the course, they are also friends off it. That chemistry has helped them this season, as they didn’t need Fenlason to tell them to go to the course. They go with each other anyway, whether it’s in season or out of the high school golf season.

“It’s how we clicked together as a team,” Doiron said. “A lot of us were out here this summer before the season even started, playing, working on our skills and taking advantage of every moment that we had to make sure our season was successful this year.”

Doiron, the team’s captain, has seen the team grow since he started out as a freshman — when Spruce Mountain barely had enough players for matches — to the team growing to 13 players this season.

The players weren’t going to let a few down years affect friendships because they have plenty of years ahead with each other.

“You get frustrated with yourself, but you got to overcome that,” Preble said. “I mean, it’s a sport you can play for the rest of your life. You are going to be able to figure out what’s going wrong. I mean, all these guys I am going to play golf with them for the rest of my life, which is good. We make great friends, good team bonding and even made new friends with other people from other teams. I will probably get together and golf with them.”

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The victories started to pile up early, as the Phoenix won their first three matches of the season. And they have done very well at their home course, Maple Lane Golf Club.

“We had three home matches in a row,” Preble said. “Personally, I think we can beat any team on this course, playing it every day, all year long. We know it like the back of our hand.”

Once they got away from Maple Lane, that’s where the losses piled up.

“Once they got the feeling, ‘Oh, we won one, then we won two and then we won three, then we went to our first away match,’ they didn’t shoot as they had expected,” Fenlason said. “That was kind of a little bit of a wake-up call for them. That put a fire in their belly of ‘OK, we can do this.’ But we didn’t do it on the away courses. In hindsight, that was a little helpful because it gave them a reality check, that we can play golf. We just have to remember it doesn’t matter where we go, we are going to drive, chip and putt.”

Another key to the success in 2016 has been the addition of sophomore Haley Turcotte, who has jumped into the No. 2 slot in the lineup.

“Haley has been a real gem for us,” Fenlason said. “She has been really steady. She didn’t play last year; she was a little unsure of it, but boy, she has came out of the gates. It has been phenomenal to watch her and see her growth over the year. Golf is one of those games where it’s a little nerve-racking. We have gotten through those little (jitters) that she had early.”

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She was welcomed by her teammates with open arms.

“Haley Turcotte is the future of this team,” Doiron said. “She’s a natural athlete, very good. I am proud to have her on this team. We are so grateful to have her and I am excited to see where she ends up in a few years.”

With the regional on tap, Fenlason wants her team to know what’s possible if they do well on Tuesday, and that’s a spot at the state championship.

“My team is a little unique: They don’t get caught up in that stuff; they just go play golf,” Fenlason said. “Sometimes I would like them to focus a little bit more, like ‘Oh, my gosh, we need this.’ They are such a great group of young people that they don’t get caught up. They just go play. I try to make them aware of the end result of the match before, or last year you might have shot this and you improved. That’s a good thing, but honestly they go out and play golf. They are wonderful. They do know it’s a big event and they want to succeed.”

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