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Saint Mary’s: Year in Sports

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Cross CountryThe Belles finished sixth overall at the MIAA Championships, and followed that up with a 30th place finish in the Hanover College Regional of the Division III NCAA Tournament, finishing their 2003 season by showing slight improvement over last year’s seventh-place finish in the MIAA Championships.Freshman Sara Otto led the Belles with an 84th-place finish in a time of 25 minutes, 9 seconds, at the Hanover Regional. The top finisher at that meet finished with a time of 22:13.2.Senior captain Jackie Bauters contracted a respiratory infection before the MIAA Championships, but continued to run in both that meet and the Hanover Regional. Bauters’ illness affected her time at Hanover, with a finish of 28:26.4, 206th overall.Other Belles finishes at the Hanover Regional included Elizabeth Commers (26:16.7), Katie White (26:48.0), Erin Nolan (27:09.5), Jessica Kosco (27:25.9) and Becky Feauto (27:46.9).SoccerUnder first-year head coach Peter Haring, the Belles put together an impressive season, finishing with a final record of 10-5-4 and 6-4-4 in the MIAA.Saint Mary’s started its year with a bang, winning three straight matches against nonconference opponents before opening MIAA play with a 2-2 tie against Calvin.From Sept. 11 to Oct. 11, the Belles collected five consecutive shutouts against MIAA opponents, including 4-0 victories over both Olivet and Kalamazoo. For the entire season, the Belles collected eight shutouts.Saint Mary’s had the opportunity to play a spoiler late in the season, as their 4-4 tie against Calvin eliminated any chance that Calvin might get an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Belles had no chance to make the tournament, even before playing their game against Calvin.VolleyballA young Belles team with only one senior in Alison Shevik showed considerable improvement, going from a 7-21 (1-13 in the MIAA) record in 2002 to 16-13 (5-10) this year.After starting the season 0-2, the Belles rattled off four straight wins and advanced to the final of the Wooster (Ohio) Invitational Sept. 5-6, losing in the final match to Marietta (Ohio).A key point in the Belles season was a five-game win over Albion in the final regular season match of the season. Albion had defeated Saint Mary’s in the Belles’ home opener earlier in the season.Freshman Kristen Playko had an impressive rookie campaign for the Belles, finishing as the team’s kills leader with 496 in 104 games. Her 54 service aces also led the team. For her efforts, Playko was named to the All-MIAA first team, the only freshman to achieve that honor.BasketballThe Belles finished their regular season with a final record of 7-18 (2-12 in the MIAA), losing to No. 1 seed Calvin 82-48 in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.On a young team that only featured one senior in guard Katie Miller, the Belles weren’t able to find much consistency, never collecting more than two straight wins during the regular season.Despite the disappointing year, several players earned individual accolades. Junior Emily Creachbaum was named to the All-MIAA second team, while junior Katie Boyce was named the MIAA’s Defensive Player of the Year.Creachbaum led the team in nearly all offensive categories, including points per game (12.4), field goal percentage (48.8 percent) and 3-point percentage (45.9 percent). She also led the team 134 total rebounds.Boyce led the team with 50 steals.SwimmingSenior Megan Ramsey was the sole Belle to earn All-MIAA honors, as Saint Mary’s took seventh at the MIAA Championships.Ramsey finished second in the 500-yard freestyle (5:14.22) and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly. She also placed sixth in the 200-yard butterfly. This performance was good enough for her fourth consecutive All-MIAA honor. Ramsey finished her career after having placed as a finalist in the top six in every individual event she swam in at the MIAA Championships. She owns school records in the 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard butterfly and is part of four relay records.Joining in Ramsey’s success at the MIAA Championships was sophomore Sarah Nowak. Nowak, competing in her first MIAA Championships, took third in the 200-yard breaststroke and fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke. She also took eighth in the 200-yard individual medley.Seniors Maureen Palchak and Katy Lebiedz finised 11th in the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard breaststroke, respectively. Lebiedz also took ninth in the 100-yard butterfly to round out the competition.SoftballFor the first time ever, the Belles won the MIAA Championship. Led by senior Erin Sullivan, the Belles entered as the No. 3 seed and emerged as champions. Their 12-6 record in the MIAA is the best ever for a Saint Mary’s team, and the Belles finished 20-19 overall.Sullivan finished 5-for-12 with two RBI in the tournament and finished as the MIAA’s Most Valuable Offensive Player and the MIAA batting champion. She also earned MIAA Player of the Week honors, and was named first team All-MIAA.Sullivan was joined by pitcher Kate Sajewich, who earned two wins and a save during the tournament, and was also named first team All-MIAA. Sajewich finished 12-6 (5-3 in the MIAA), with a 2.24 overall ERA and a 1.48 MIAA ERA. She threw 12 complete games and saved two.Other Belles earning postseason honors were first baseman Katrina Tebbe and MIAA runs scored leader Angie Ellison. Tebbe was named MIAA Most Valuable Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league in chances (132) and putouts (124). Meanwhile, she also joined Ellison on the second team All-MIAA. Ellison hit .356 on the year, good for ninth in the league.GolfThe Belles defended their MIAA crown in the fall season, shooting a 679 as a team to finish first in the eight-team MIAA Championships at Olivet.Saint Mary’s began with an impressive start to the season, finishing fifth overall at the 19-team Ferris State Invitational – a tournament that featured several Division-I teams.That fifth-place finish would be the team’s worst of the season, with the team finishing fourth at the Knox College Women’s Invitational and then either second or first in the rest of the season’s remaining tournaments.The team’s season continued in the spring of 2004 with the NCAA Championships. After one round, the Belles had a team score of 339, six strokes better than last year’s fourth place team at this point. Reigning champion Stefanie Simmerman was in third place with a first round score of 78, leading the Belles.As of press time, the Belles were in eighth place as a team, and Simmerman was in seventh, six strokes behind the leader after two rounds of play in Green Lake, Wisc.