Angelica Moresco adjusts to life in the United States during freshman season

Angelica Moresco adjusts to life in the United States during freshman season

Curtesy of Alabama Athletics. Photo by Amelia B. Barton

Three winters ago, Alabama head women’s golf coach Mic Potter and his assistant, Susan Rosenstiel, attended the ANNIKA Invitational, a top-flight junior event in Reunion, Florida, to watch and meet potential prospects.

While there, they met Stefano Sardi, the manager of the Italian girls' national team, who had accompanied one of his players, Carolina Caminoli, to America. They were impressed with Caminoli’s game and the way she carried herself, and they quickly formed a close relationship with Sardi.

Once the 2015 college golf season ended, Potter and Rosenstiel embarked on a summer recruiting trip to the Czech Republic, where they intended to interact with several prospects, including Caminoli, at the European Girls’ Team Championship. While they were watching Caminoli during a practice round, one of her teammates on the Italian national team caught their eye.

Her name, Sardi told them, was Angelica Moresco, and she would be committing to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia by the end of the week.

“I said, ‘I don’t care if she goes to Alabama – I mean, I’d like for her to – but she needs to look around,’” Potter said. “She was that good, that talented, and appeared to be a leader on the team. She had a lot of options that she wasn’t considering.”

A year or two prior, Moresco had known next to nothing about college golf in the States and wasn’t sure it was for her; what she did know, however, was that she did not want to turn professional immediately after finishing school in Italy.

Andrew Crabtree from Old Dominion had provided solutions to both problems and made an impression on Moresco. He was the first coach to come watch her play in Europe, which was a big reason why she wanted to play there. So, with no other viable options, she had committed to becoming a Lady Monarch.

But when Alabama entered the picture, she wanted to keep an open mind. She prepared a list of topics to ask Potter and Rosenstiel about on a Skype call, ranging from the weather to the practice facilities to the team’s workout regimen.

She was satisfied with the answers she received on that call, and she inferred that Potter would be the type of coach who would recommend which aspects of her game to work on, but would also give her freedom in how to do so. She liked that.

Potter had convinced her that perhaps Alabama had as much to offer her as Old Dominion did. The next step was to cross the pond and visit the schools in person.

She and her family went to Tuscaloosa first, then traveled up the East Coast to Norfolk. After experiencing both campuses, evaluating both practice facilities and reconnecting with both coaches, the choice was not difficult.

 “The campus here [at Alabama] is so much bigger and more beautiful, and I knew the coaches here and I really liked them,” Moresco said. “So I thought [Old Dominion] was not the good choice. I [made that decision] too fast. I really thought about it and I was like, ‘Alabama is the right place.’”

When Angelica’s younger sister, Benedetta, found out that she had not immediately deemed Alabama the superior option, she looked at her incredulously, as if to say, “Are you crazy?”

So the decision was made: Angelica Moresco – or “Angy”, as she would be known by her future teammates – would play collegiate golf for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Now, Moresco finally started her freshman season when Alabama faced Ohio State in California last week. While she's definitely more comfortable now, Alabama took some getting used to.

Having never stayed in the U.S. for more than a few days during junior tournaments, it was almost completely foreign to her. She also battled homesickness, now seven time zones away from a family she had never been separated from for so long.

Thankfully, she had her new teammates to help her adjust. She formed an especially strong bond with one of them in particular: junior Cheyenne Knight.

Like Moresco, Knight was once the only freshman on the team when she started. The team’s two seniors that year, Emma Talley and Janie Jackson, came to her aid and helped ease the transition to college life. Knight, who rooms with Moresco at tournaments, said she is simply paying it forward.

“I took Angy underneath my wing because my freshman year, I was homesick and I struggled with adjusting to college,” Knight said. “I showed her where her classes were and picked her up for practice, so we bonded on car rides. With how great my seniors were for my freshman year, I wanted to be that for her.”

It was during Knight’s freshman season that she and the rest of the team first met Moresco on her unofficial visit. The team enjoyed a dinner catered by Zoe’s Kitchen at the Jerry Pate Golf Center, which houses the men’s and women’s teams, and did its best to make Moresco feel welcome.

That comfort level, she said, was a huge factor in her decision to sign with Alabama.

“It was fun because it was just me and the girls, so I didn’t have the coaches supervising us,” Moresco said. “[The girls] were honest with me, so I asked them what you do at tournaments, what you do during practice, and they explained everything.”

Knight said her first impression of Moresco was that she was an adorable Italian girl with a fun accent. She speculated, though, that she was unusually shy during the dinner because she lacked confidence in her English. Moresco confirmed that suspicion.

“I went here for my unofficial visit and my English was eh, not really that good,” Moresco said, shrugging her shoulders. “I was thinking they’re all Americans; how can I understand what they say?”

Once she arrived in Tuscaloosa, though, she became more comfortable with asking her teammates for help, and after spending more time around them, a sense of humor emerged, too.

“As she’s gotten more comfortable around us, she is hilarious,” Knight said. “She has really come out of her shell, and she’ll just say some stuff that’s very sarcastic. We pick on each other a little bit.”

Knight attempted to bond with Moresco by asking her to teach her some Italian words. Knight, a Texan whose accent is as close to Italian as her home state was to voting for Hillary Clinton, struggled to pronounce the words, much to Moresco’s amusement.

On one occasion, she taught Knight how to say “Good shot” in Italian, and Knight said it to her during a round. Moresco, Knight said, “died laughing”. She later explained to Knight that she had not said "Good shot", but "Good body."

Potter and Knight agreed that Moresco shows maturity beyond her 19 years, and that her attitude will be the same whether she’s 5-over-par or 5-under-par.

That positive outlook was perhaps never more evident than in an incident that occurred during September’s Schooner Fall Classic, only her second college tournament.

On the first hole of the second round, an accurate second shot bounced sideways into tall grass, and she ended up making a quadruple-bogey 8.

As she walked off the green, Potter recalled, her short memory caught him by surprise. She chirped, “That’s alright, I’ll make birdies.”

So, for those keeping track at home, we have an academically driven, unflappable, mature, focused player with a fundamentally sound golf swing, growing confidence, great rapport with teammates, experience in the match-play format used by the NCAA and a history of thriving in a culture predicated on the pursuit of championships. What more could a coach dream of?

“I just can’t stress enough what a great girl she is,” Potter said. “She’s just a really well-rounded young lady and we’re really glad she’s here. I see winning tournaments, I see All-American status in her future. The first semester is always the toughest, and I expect in the spring we’ll see great things from her.”

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