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After strong opening, Belles ready for another test

Joe Hettler | Friday, September 5, 2003

Coach Mark Hamilton and his Saint Mary’s gold team wanted to finish in the top five out of the 19 team field at the Ferris State Invitational last weekend.

Led by Julie Adams’ sixth place finish, the Belles accomplished that goal by finishing with a 663 team total for fifth place overall.

The team now takes on its first head-to-head competitor when they travel to Illinois to challenge Knox College at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Belles worked hard in the off-season, and that practice has already begun to show dividends. Hamilton said the team has really come along well in the early year.

“We’re starting to see the fruits of our labor,” Hamilton said. “We’re real close to putting ourselves over the top.”

Knox has one of the better golf teams in its conference and played solidly in its first match of the season. In the BUC Classic, the team fired a 386 to finish fourth out of seven teams. They improved in their next invitational, taking fourth again in I.C. Tournament. Crystal Fox and Allyson Cooper, who both fired 86 to finish in a tie for second place, paced Knox. The team’s 375-stroke finish was 11 better than its first tournament finish.

The Belles will look to put together another solid team effort, much like they did in their first invitational. Besides Adams’ 156 stroke finish, defending D-III national champion Stefanie Simmerman took 28th place with a two round score of 87-81. Chrissy Dunham finished 33rd, followed by teammate Megan Mattia’s 37th place finish.

Saint Mary’s will have added pressure this season as head-to-head matches begin, because the team placed fourth in the nation at the D-III national championships last season.

The have also had the luxury of not playing in any competitive rounds this week and should be fresh for their match against Knox.

The Belles next play at Monmouth on Sept. 12.