The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC Golf: Belles take reputation into weekend tournament

Anna Fricano | Friday, September 2, 2005

This weekend marks the start of more than one varsity sport in the Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s community. Before the football team will even get a chance to call the coin toss, the Saint Mary’s golf team will have completed the first round of its first tournament of the fall season.

The Belles won’t be facing tens of thousands of fans, and there are unlikely to be any post-tournament press conferences. What the team will face, however, are expectations – the kind of expectations that come from being one of the most successful women’s golf programs in the nation. In the last three years, Saint Mary’s golf has captured three conference titles and made three NCAA appearances. Coach and players alike have high hopes for another successful year, and this weekend will be a good opportunity for them to see what kind of a season they can expect.

The Belles will travel to Ferris State University this afternoon to compete in the Bulldog Invitational, a tournament consisting of two 18-hole rounds to be played on Saturday and Sunday. The team has performed well at the event in past years, but this year the invitational takes place at a new course, one that the Belles have yet to face.

The competition will have little effect on the outcome of the fall 2005 golf season, however. It’s not a conference tournament, and although the results will factor into early-season rankings, scores will not have any effect on conference standings.

What this weekend will be for the Belles is a good indicator of what they can expect for the rest of the season. For the freshmen on the team, it’s the beginning of what could be a highly successful collegiate career. And for the seniors on the team, it’s the beginning of the end of an already accomplished career. The veterans of the team are hoping to take advantage of the fact that two freshmen will be traveling with them this weekend.

“I feel like it’s our job to show the freshmen how to act, to represent us well and to play well,” said Megan Mattia.

One team that the Belles will certainly be looking to perform well against will be DePauw University, another elite Division-III program that managed to underscore the Belles three times last spring, finishing just ahead of them at two events, and tying for third in the D-III championships at the conclusion of the season. “We always look to beat DePauw,” Mattia said.

More than anything, the Belles are looking to come out of their first tournament solid, both as individual players and as a team. The golfers have been practicing much more often as a team rather than the individual practices that they often did last season. They are well-focused and as prepared as they can be.

Saint Mary’s will tee-off tomorrow morning, and the tournament will conclude on Sunday afternoon.