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Belles grab MIAA tournament win

Joe Meixell | Sunday, October 4, 2009

No. 2 Saint Mary’s continued its MIAA dominance this weekend as it won the fourth and final regular season conference jamboree with a team score of 327 at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend.

The Belles set a course record as well as beating out conference foe Olivet’s previous record by seven strokes.

“We came out on top Saturday which is a great victory given the conditions of the day,” Belles captain Perri Hamma said. “The weather was difficult but we played hard and won.”

Olivet took second Saturday, just two strokes behind Saint Mary’s. Hope came in third with 331 before Trine in fourth with 356 and Calvin two strokes back for fifth. Albion took sixth with 367, followed by Alma with 374 and Kalamazoo with 389. Adrian rounded out the day in ninth with a 402.

Hope’s Megan Scholten was the medalist with a low round score of 77, a course record for an individual MIAA round.

Freshman Martyna Mierzwa led the Belles with a 79 to put her in second place, followed by junior Mary Kate Boyce in third with a 78. Sophomore Natalie Matuszak and junior Rosie O’Connor each took a share of ninth with rounds of 84. Hamma took fifth for the Belles and 17th overall with a score of 87.

Saturday’s win places Saint Mary’s 17 strokes over Olivet to lead the MIAA heading into the conference tournament next weekend.

“Seventeen strokes is a good cushion for the final tournament on Friday and Saturday,” Hamma said. “It is important that we don’t get too comfortable in that lead though. This course is a good course to make a move so we need to play smart and well to maintain our lead. A win this fall is really important to our spring season.”

The MIAA teams participate in three spring contests to determine the conference’s automatic entrance into the NCAA tournament, where the Belles placed 10th this past spring.

The Belles held the conference title from 2002-2005, but have fallen to Olivet the last three seasons. Their conquest for the title will continue Friday and Saturday at Bedford Valley Golf Course in Michigan hosted by Hope.

“The team’s goal is to get out there Friday and Saturday and back up all our hard work this season with another win,” Hamma said. “But most importantly we all want to have fun in the last event of the fall.”