Belles face down No. 1 Washington
Conor Kelly | Wednesday, April 2, 2014
After placing fifth at the Southwest Minnesota State University Invitational at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., two weeks ago, the Belles are looking to continue their success at the Washington University in St. Louis Invite this weekend.
With the MIAA NCAA Qualifiers less than two weeks away, the Belles will be competing against 10 ranked Division III schools this weekend, including first-ranked Washington University in St. Louis. The Bears’ top golfer is sophomore Connie Zhou, who ranks fifth in the country with a 76.69 average. As a team, Washington averages a solid 314.73.
While the Belles are not ranked in the top 25, they took fifth at the SMSU Invitational, where they were the only Division III school represented.
“We were the only Division III school amongst all Division II schools, and if we would have shot average on day one then we probably would have finished even higher,” Belles coach Kim Moore said. “It just showed our girls that it doesn’t matter what division they are playing against, if they just play the course and play one shot at a time that they can play with a lot of different schools out there.”Saint Mary’s top golfers included both senior captains Alexi Brown and Paige Pollak who scored a 176 and a 177, respectively, on the two days of the invitational. All of the Belles’ active golfers at the invitational were able to improve their scores from day one to day two.
“I feel that our team is more than capable of being the best in the MIAA conference, and I feel that we have a legitimate chance to qualify for our NCAA championship,” Moore said. “It will require intense focus and determination during practice and the confidence that our hard work will pay off. Once we get an opportunity to practice outside I know we will get our short game feel back, which will allow us to post better numbers. I know that all the hard workers we possess on this team, along with the leadership our seniors bring, will give us a great chance to experience play beyond our regular season.”
During the fall season last year, the Belles finished second in the MIAA behind No. 10-ranked Olivet.
The Belles will continue their quest to qualify for the NCAA championship when they take on some of the top programs in the country at the Washington University in St. Louis Invitational this weekend.