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SMC GOLF: Belles head to MIAA jamboree in third place

Alex Barker | Friday, September 19, 2008

Saint Mary’s will continue conference play this weekend as they head to the Zollner Golf Club in Angola, Ind., for the second of four MIAA jamborees.

After the first jamboree, the Belles sit comfortably in third place in the conference with a team score of 340, four strokes behind Hope and eighteen behind first-place Olivet. Sophomore Rosie O’Connor led the team in round one after shooting an 83, good for 10th place in the individual standings. Outstanding freshman Natalie Matusak carded an 84 to finish in 11th place.

The Belles have had mild success this season facing much tougher competition. In the opening tournament of the year, hosted by Ferris State, Saint Mary’s finished ninth out of a field of 16 which featured several top Division II teams. In her collegiate debut, Matusak had the highest individual finish among all NCAA Division III golfers in the tournament.

Most recently, the Belles competed at the Dartmouth Invitational against a very tough field, including Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown. Saint Mary’s finished last in a field made up of Division I and II teams.

As the Belles return to conference play, they will look to their young talent for continued leadership in gaining ground on the field. The top performers on the team -O’Connor and Matusak – have only one year of collegiate experience between them. Behind them, freshman Christine Brown has been a solid third option so far this season.

With such a young and talented team, Saint Mary’s should continue to improve as the season matures.

After four MIAA one-round jamborees and the final two-round shootout are tallied, the leading team will be proclaimed the conference champion for the fall season. However, the conference’s automatic NCAA tournament berth will not be awarded until the spring.

The second jamboree, hosted by Trine University, will begin Saturday at 1pm.