Belles end regular season with loss to Comets
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The 2016-17 season came to an end for Saint Mary’s on Saturday, as the Belles lost to Olivet on Senior Day in a low-scoring 55-44 contest.
The Belles (2-23, 1-15 MIAA) looked in control and potentially on their way to a second MIAA win of the season early on. After leading 8-6 with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Belles embarked on a 10-3 run before the end of the period, capped off by five points from junior guard Gabby Crown. The Comets (2-22, 2-14 MIAA) were held to just 4-of-15 shooting in the period, while the Belles assisted on all seven of their field goals.
The Belles’ early momentum was quickly wiped away, however. Olivet cut the lead to four points after just over 30 seconds of second-quarter play and took the lead for the first time with 2:23 remaining in the first half. A free throw from senior forward Kelsey Ronan narrowed Olivet’s lead to 26-25 entering halftime.
For much of the third quarter, Saint Mary’s looked strong again, with a free throw from freshman guard Delaney Rohlman giving the Belles a 37-33 lead with 46 seconds remaining in the quarter. However, five quick Olivet points ensured that Saint Mary’s trailed by a single point entering the final frame.
The Belles, however, did not add another point until 2:44 remained in the game, as the Comets made a 15-0 run in eight minutes to push their lead to 48-37. Although Saint Mary’s did add seven points from the free-throw line in what time remained, they did not make a single field goal in the final 13 minutes of the game, missing 18 consecutive shots to close out the game.
Sophomore guard Erin Maloney recorded five steals — three in the final quarter — and four assists, while sophomore forward Caroline Macius added a career-high four steals in the loss.
Spring season for Saint Mary’s began with two 7-2 wins in Ohio over Saint Francis and Wittenberg, but a defeat to Ohio Wesleyan prevented a perfect weekend for the Belles.
The Belles got off to an ideal start against Saint Francis (3-10, 0-1 Crossroads), winning all three doubles encounters, including an 8-2 win for sophomore Monica Davy and senior Sam Setterblad. Freshman Meaghan Flynn and senior Kaity Venters, meanwhile, came through in a tight contest, winning 9-7.
In the singles play, Davy won her match 6-1, 6-1, while junior Maddie Minaudo and sophomore Elizabeth Priester each earned 6-0, 6-0 victories. Although Flynn and junior Kelsey Kopf were both defeated in tiebreakers, freshman Elizabeth Bush won a tiebreaker of her own to bring the Belles’ score to seven.
It was a similar story for the Belles against Wittenberg (3-4, 0-0 NCAC), again taking each doubles match, this time by scores of 8-3, 8-3 and 8-1, respectively. Again the Belles won four matches in the singles, with Kopf, Flynn, Minaudo and Priester earning the wins this time.
Against Ohio Wesleyan (5-1, 0-0 NCAC), the Belles again had the advantage in the doubles, winning two out of three matches. However, against a Battling Bishops singles lineup that included No. 11-ranked sophomore Lauren Corcoran, the Belles could only win one match, with four losses coming in straight sets. That one victory came thanks to Priester, who won her match 6-4, 6-3.
The Belles will play Aquinas on Saturday at Eck Tennis Pavilion. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.