Belles claim second at MIAA NCAA qualifiers
Manuel De Jesus | Monday, April 28, 2014
At the end of the MIAA NCAA qualifying round, the Belles finished in second place, 50 strokes behind the fall conference champion, Olivet.
The Belles started strong on the first day of the qualifier, finishing the day with a score of 329, only four strokes behind Olivet.
Over the next two days, the Belles recorded scores of 344 and 349 in round two and three, respectively, but it was not enough to win the automatic qualifying bid in the Division III NCAA championships.
On day two, Olivet broke the course record with a score of 316 and improved its lead over Saint Mary’s to 32 strokes. Belles coach Kimberly Moore recognized the gap widening and knew that it would be difficult to make a comeback.
“After the first round, I was extremely confident; we were only four strokes behind,” Moore said. “I felt my players did a great job for the weather and the conditions. After the second round yesterday, we did not help ourselves out.”
In the final round, Olivet golfed a 331, and, unfortunately for the Belles, Saint Mary’s was only able to record a 349, allowing the gap to widen even further.
In the final round, senior Adrienne Plourde led the way for the Comets and won honors as an individual medalist with a score of 77, only four over par. For Saint Mary’s, senior captain Paige Pollak, freshman Ali Mahoney and sophomore Claire Boyle all shot 87 and finished in a three-way tie for seventh.
Moore said that the leader for the team throughout the qualifier was junior Janice Heffernan who shot an 80, 85 and 88 in her three rounds.
“I would say the biggest leader we have had this spring is a bit of a surprise,” Moore said. “I always knew that this person could shoot the scores and be as consistent as she has been. Janice Heffernan has really stayed steady this entire season. She has been the one person that I could consistently rely on shooting a countable score for the team. She is a junior, and I hope she will continue to work on her game over this summer and come back next year being one of the best players for us as well as one of the best players in our conference.”
Now that the season has ended, Moore said she has had the opportunity to reflect on her team’s success over the last year.
“Looking back at this spring season I am most proud of the patience of this team,” Moore said. “Coming into a spring season, you are used to having a few weeks of practice indoors and then by the time the first tournament rolls around you have been outside practicing for at least a solid week. This spring was anything but that. We only played in one tournament this season that we were able to prepare outside for a week prior. It is extremely difficult to prepare for an outside sport when all you can do is prepare inside.”
Though Heffernan will be returning for the Belles next season, after this tournament, Saint Mary’s says goodbye to senior captains Alexi Brown and Pollak.
With its season over, Saint Mary’s turns its eyes to next season, when seven golfers will return for the Belles.