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Belles enter third round of tourney

Meaghan Veselik | Thursday, October 1, 2009

Saint Mary’s moved up to No. 2 this week as it heads to Kalamazoo today to play in the third MIAA fall jamboree this afternoon at the Milham Park Golf Club. The Belles currently sit atop the nine-team conference after winning the first MIAA competition and finishing as the runner-up in the second.

Last weekend, Saint Mary’s took first in a field of 16 teams in the DePauw Small College Classic at Deer Creek Golf Club. 

“Our win this past weekend was really big for us and helped push us to our No. 2 ranking in the nation in Division III,” Belles captain Perri Hamma said. “We have been a strong team on and off the course and I think that is really going a long way for us.”

The Belles shot a team score of 315 in the first round to take a lead they never relinquished, following it up with a 320 on day two for a 635. They were 18 strokes ahead of the second place team, DePauw.

Freshman Martyna Mierzwa medaled for the third time this fall with a 154 to lead the field of 99 golfers. She shot a 76 on day one and followed it up with a 79 on day two to claim the title. 

Just a few strokes behind was sophomore teammate Natalie Matuszak in second for the Belles and overall with a combined 157. Matuszak had the second best score in round two with a 77 to follow up her day one round of 80. 

Junior Mary Kate Boyce and senior Perri Hamma both posted scores of 162 to take a share of ninth overall. Boyce shot a 79 on day one and an 83 on day two, while Hamma shot an 80 in the first round and an 82 in the second. 

Junior Rosie O’Connor tied for 27th in the event with her final score of 171 to round out the Belles top competitors. O’Connor went out with an 87 in the first round but came back with an 84 to finish the weekend.

Today’s event will be the third conference competition for Saint Mary’s this fall. The regular season MIAA jamborees and a season-ending two-day tournament are played to determine the league fall champion in hopes of winning the automatic entrance into the NCAA tournament in the spring. 

“It is important to come off this past weekend’s win and go out there and win again tomorrow,” Hamma said. “We have the skills to take a big step tomorrow over Olivet. With every win, we get more and more comfortable and confident in each of our games which comes across into our next rounds.”

Last spring, the Belles took tenth at the NCAA tournament after taking second to Olivet in the fall 2008 season. Saint Mary’s is currently 11 strokes ahead of Olivet for the lead in the MIAA. The Belles won four consecutive conference championships from 2002-2005, and are looking to take back the title this fall. 

“With the remaining matches this season all being MIAA matches, we need to play with confidence and hold a tight lead over the other teams,” Hamma said. “If we can secure a win this fall season, it will really set us up for success this spring; a win would guarantee two of the three rounds for the conference and a spot at nationals would be at our home course.”