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SMC GOLF: Belles win their 4th straight title

Anna Fricano | Monday, October 10, 2005

A new piece of history was made for Saint Mary’s this weekend when the golf team traveled to the MIAA Championship and brought home its fourth conference title in four years.

The two-day, 36-hole tournament was the last leg of the race for the 2005 MIAA title, which is determined by total team score after four conference events.

After three jamborees, the Belles went into this weekend’s tournament already with a 22-stroke lead in the standings. On Friday, their lead was cut down somewhat by rival Olivet College, which finished 10 strokes under the Belles after the first round of play. Saint Mary’s finished on Friday with a team score of 352. In third place was Hope College, four strokes behind the Belles.

But on Saturday, Saint Mary’s was able to significantly lower its team score, and finished the second round with a 336. Hope College was the runner-up on the second day of the tournament, finishing the day with a 345. Albion came in third on Saturday, only one stroke behind Hope and Olivet dropped to fourth place with a score of 350. After the two rounds of golf, Saint Mary’s finished the tournament in first place, finishing four strokes ahead of Olivet and 13 strokes ahead of Hope, which ended the weekend in second and third place, respectively.

The weekend’s tournament reflected exactly what the conference competition has seen throughout the entire fall season.

In two of the three jamborees this fall, Saint Mary’s has finished in first place, giving themselves a secure lead in the rankings.

Olivet made a run in the second conference event, beating out the Belles for the first place spot and cutting into the lead that Saint Mary’s had established, but let up and finished fourth in the final event leading to the championships.

And the victory achieved just what the team has been working toward since the beginning of the fall.

“As a team we really want to end it on a high note,” senior Megan Mattia said. “We want to keep it going for the freshmen.”

In addition to the final team standings, several Saint Mary’s golfers were awarded individual honors from the MIAA at the conclusion of the season. Mattia was named the Most Valuable Golfer in the MIAA for 2005, and finished the season with the lowest scoring average, 80.6, in the conference.

Mattia was also named to the All-MIAA First Team for the third year. Teammates Nicole Bellino, Kirsten Fantom and Katie O’Brien were also awarded conference honors this year, each earning a place on the All-Conference Second Team.

The conclusion of MIAA play also marks the conclusion of the fall season for the Belles. Head coach Mark Hamilton said the team felt mixed emotions on seeing the season end. “It seemed like [the season] went quickly,” Hamilton said. “The girls will be ready for a little bit of a break … but they’ll be sad to see it end.”

The Belles will recommence play in the spring, although the 2006 schedule is still pending.