The East Peoria girls golf team is ready to begin its maiden voyage.

The East Peoria girls golf team is ready to begin its maiden voyage.

The first-year program was scheduled to take part in its first dual yesterday in Canton.

“It’s a great group of girls,” EPCHS head coach Ashley Higginson said.

Six players with a variety of skills in the sport came out for the squad.

Two have tournament experience, two have swung a club and two are new to the game.

Sophomore Bridget Wolff and freshman Alexa Grant previously have participated in competitions.

Juniors Lauren Bernard and Morgan Ciota and freshmen Bridget Bankes and Shelby Knobeloch round out the team.

Just since the first day of tryouts, Higginson has noticed more consistency.

“They’ve really improved,” she said about the girls. “I’m really proud of them. I think they’re working hard.”

Grant said she has played for three years, with the last two on a serious level.

“It’s a way to get exercise and it’s a lot of fun,” Grant said about golf.

Grant added she is excited, but a little nervous about the first event on the schedule.

Higginson has done a lot of work with the girls around the green and they also utilize the driving range.

Quail Meadows Golf Course’s indoor facility has allowed the girls to have productive practice sessions even when it rains.

The players recently observed Higginson and boys coach Chris Frasco play some holes as the mentors talked through different situations.

The girls in particular gained a lot from the sequence, which involved strategy, etiquette and other subjects that come up in a typical round.

“They’ve been really good about asking questions,” Higginson said about the players’ involvement.

East Peoria will play nine-hole matches in 2009 against every Mid-Illini Conference school except Limestone, which does not field a girls team.

Realizing the Raiders are just getting started, foes likely will do what they can to assist the new team.

“I think everybody will help each other out,” said Higginson.

The finale, the Oct. 1 league tournament, will be 18 holes at Leo Donovan Golf Course in Peoria.

The next dual is Sept. 3 at Morton at Pine Lakes Golf Club.