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SMC Golf: Belles travel for anticipated meet

Andrew Cardoza | Friday, April 27, 2012

The Belles will travel to Marshall, Mich., for the final two rounds of the MIAA NCAA qualifier today, the biggest meet of their season thus far. The team with the lowest three-round score will earn the conference’s automatic spot in May’s NCAA Division III championship.

“This meet gives us the ability to allow our season to continue,” Belles coach Mark Hamilton said. “We have had a long season and we now know what it takes to stick with some of the top teams in the country.”

In this qualification meet, the Belles will face very competitive play from conference rivals and host, Olivet, as well Hope, Calvin, Adrian and Trine. The Belles have seen most of their opponents throughout the season tournaments and conference play.

“This will be a great meet to see how we match against some of the best teams in the region,” Hamilton said. “This weekend will allow our school to get one step closer of achieving our season goal. I expect nothing but big performances and a fantastic finish to this weekend.”

Hamilton will look for a strong team performance as well as growth rather than focusing on the individual play. This will be the second qualification tournament for the Belles this year.

“We need to just apply what we have worked on in practice and use it to your strengths on the course this weekend,” Hamilton said. “We need everyone to play well and give it their all. The beauty of a this meet is we control our destiny of continuing our season and reaching our ultimate goal of a championship.”

The Belles are coming off a strong performance from the first round of the NCAA qualifier – held two weeks ago in Holland, Mich. Saint Mary’s will hold a significant advantage heading into this weekend’s action, as it dominated the field in the opening round and now leads by 21 strokes over second-place No. 21 Olivet. The Belles hope to grow from that strong start and use it to their advantage in the final two rounds.

“Everyone on the team knows that they each have an important role,” Hamilton said. “We will learn a lot from this meet, and hopefully we will find ourselves coming out of this meet with an opportunity at a national championship.”

The conclusion of the MIAA NCAA qualifier will be played Friday and Saturday at the Medalist Golf Club in Marshall, Mich.

Contact Andrew Cardoza at acardoza@nd.edu