Season Recap: Belles enjoy strong Fall season
Cornelius McGrath | Friday, May 16, 2014
Saint Mary’s enjoyed an impressive fall season in coach Kim Moore’s inaugural year, followed by a frustrating spring campaign, as the Belles fell just short of qualifying for the NCC Div. III championship.
The team started off the fall strong, with a fifth-place finish in its own O’Brien National Invitational then went through three weeks of near-misses, finishing in second place in the next four MIAA meets.One of the brightest spots in this stretch for the Belles was the performance of freshman Ali Mahoney and senior Paige Pollak at Trine on Oct. 5. Mahoney and Pollack both scored in the 70s, the first time Saint Mary’s has had two golfers shoot under 80 in the same round in four years.
However, the Belles’ best individual performance of the fall came in the last match of the season at the MIAA End-of-Season Jamboree at Olivet, Mich., where junior Janice Heffernan shot a 75, the fifth-lowest score in a conference competition in program history.
In the spring season, Saint Mary’s started off slow, failing to crack the top-five in its first two invitationals. However, the Belles bounced back with a solid fourth-place finish at the Ohio Wesleyan Laura Bump Invite in Ostrander, Ohio. Heffernan once again led the Belles, shooting a 78 on the second day to finish ninth overall, while sophomore Sammie Averill finished 11th.
With this momentum, the Belles entered the three MIAA NCAA qualifiers. The Belles finished second in each meet, but failed to qualify for the tournament, finishing 50 strokes behind Olivet. Despite this disappointment, Moore was pleased with her team’s season.
“Obviously our goal every year is to play our way into NCAA national championship, so I guess we fell short in that sense,” Moore said. “However, with such a young team comprised of just three underclassmen, I felt we more than held our own in the conference”
Looking ahead, Moore said she is incredibly excited about next year’s prospects, thanks to the strong performances of the team’s younger players.
“I saw an immense amount of improvement amongst the team throughout the year,” Moore said. “With the talent we have coming in next season, I am extremely excited for a great season”
As the Belles move forward, they will do so without seniors Alexi Brown and Paige Pollak, both of whom have had a massive impact on the team, Moore said.
“Both girls were incredibly consistent for us this year, both in the spring and the fall season,” Moore said. “Their leadership will be very difficult to replace, but I am proud to have had them as members of this team”