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SMC GOLF: Olivet can’t keep up with Belles

Justin Beltz | Thursday, September 15, 2005

Saint Mary’s may have been wondering what to expect from itself, after two disappointing finishes against powerful Division I competition.

Its performance on Wednesday at the Thornapple Pointe Golf Club might have erased some of the doubt they may have had.

The Belles carded a 332 composite score and a seven-stroke victory over rival Olivet in the Calvin College Invitational. Hope, Albion and Kalamazoo rounded out the tournament’s top-five.

Megan Mattia led the way for the Belles, as she has done all season. She fired a 79, good enough for co-medalist honors with Elizabeth Kreger of Albion. The 79 was Mattia’s best round of the year, topping the 81 she shot in the final round of Ferris State’s Bulldog Invitational two weeks ago.

“Individually I just want to play really well,” Mattia said. “One of my goals this year is to make first-team all-conference, and to do that I just have to keep improving and score well.”

If Mattia continues to play this well, her goal of making the all-MIAA squad could be realized. And she could be joined by several other Belles.

Co-captain Kirsten Fantom carded an 82, good enough for a tie for third, right behind Mattia and her fellow co-medalist Kreger.

Sophomore Katie O’Brien also ended up on the final leader board, shooting an 84, putting her in a tie for 10th.

The Belles strong performance yesterday will give them a leg up on the rest of the conference as the teams jockey for position heading into the MIAA championship.

The champion is determined by the three jamborees – outings hosted by the individual colleges, and then the two-day conference tournament. Obtaining a large lead, such as the seven-stroke advantage that the Belles now possess, will prove important as the season comes to an end.

The Belles will be traveling to Normal, Ill. this weekend for the Illinois Wesleyan Invitational, a non-sanctioned event.

The team returns to MIAA action next Tuesday as it heads to Olivet for the second MIAA outing.