Freshman Mat Cocorikis Talks of Success
This past semester has been a great one for Eastern University Athletics. Many know that three of Eastern’s sports teams were nationally ranked this year, that both the men’s soccer team and the women’s volleyball team brought home conference championships and that the men’s basketball team has already achieved great success in their young season with a win over rival school Cabrini College. However, there is another Eastern sports team that has been silently winning big and even re-writing Eastern’s record books: the men’s golf team.
This fall, Eastern University’s men’s golf team out-golfed five other programs in the Andrew Geyer Invitational en route to a first place finish and the Eagle’s program record score of 305 strokes. This year’s golf team has also placed second out of twelve teams, just three strokes shy of the tournament winner, at the Lebanon Valley College invitational.
One major part of the men’s golf team success thus far has been freshman standout Matt Cocorikis. He has not just been the single best player in both the tournaments aforementioned, placing first out of twenty-eight and first out of sixty-four golfers, but the freshman has also golfed the best round of any golfer to come before him at EU, hitting a 66 at the Wesley Invitational.
When asked about his record-breaking performance and what it was like to be in “the zone”, Cocorikis could not explain it in any other way except to say, “It was like I was unconscious, I knew I was playing well but I wasn’t worrying about it. I wasn’t thinking about if I would screw it up or not. The nerves never creeped in my mind.”
Cocorikis was also asked if he had his sights set on the record, to which he commented, “Two tourneys before I shot a 71 and I had the record in the back of my mind but I wasn’t thinking about it so much.” He went on to say, “Warming up on the driving range I was hitting it within five yards of my target and knew it was gong to be a good day but it wasn’t until after hitting a nice putt for birdie on hole twelve and hitting back birdies on holes fifteen and sixteen when I really knew I could do this.” Cocorikis’s mention of the twelfth hole putt that instilled confidence in him was in reference to a sensational and sportscenter-top-10-worthy 30 foot putt from the fringe of the green that was one of his eight birdies on the day.
For all of his success, Cocorikis was very quick to give his teammates a lot of credit for the Eagles great finishes in recent invitational tournaments: “It’s just like any other team sport, we won the Andrew Geyer Invitational by placing first, second and third. It’s not like I am doing all of the heavy lifting.” Matt Cocorikis is definitely giving credit where credit is due as both Ryan Torresin and Andrew Barbin, who have carried Eastern’s team to a conference championship win before, have average scores that could be setting Eastern school records any other year.
When asked about his success this year, Barbin showed off the golf team’s mind for others as he credited the addition of the very talented freshman golfers, Sal Tortela and Matt Cocorikis, for his and Torresin’s low scores. Barbin noted that because he can count on his teammates to score well, he and Ryan Torresin are not forced to gamble or take risky shots in order to give the team a chance of competing for first in any given tournament.
Stay on the look out for the Eagles men’s golf team this spring as the freshman additions and the contributions they have made to the team’s chemistry and team’s talent have them poised to do even bigger things.