SMC set to host invitational
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, September 11, 2014
After finishing third at the Olivet Labor Day Tee-Off two weeks ago, Saint Mary’s aims to carry that momentum into its next competition as the Belles host the O’Brien National Invitational at Warren Golf Course over the weekend.Janice Heffernan, the lone Belles senior, led the way for Saint Mary’s at the Olivet Labor Day tournament, shooting a two-day score of 159, which put her in fifth place individually. She earned all-tournament honors and later was named the MIAA golfer of the week for the first time in her collegiate career.
In addition to Heffernan’s headlining performance, sophomores Ali Mahoney and Courtney Carlson shot 167 and 179 to earn 11th and 22nd place, respectively. Freshmen Lydia Lorenc and Kelsey Conkright, who scored 193 and 199, respectively, finished 29th and 31st for the Belles. Saint Mary’s finished behind only MIAA rival and defending conference champion Olivet and last year’s national No. 1 team, Washington University in St. Louis.
Heading into this year’s conference play, the Belles will be competing once again with Olivet. The Comets have won three straight conference titles, while Saint Mary’s has finished second two straight years. At last season’s O’Brien Invitational, Olivet finished second while the Belles finished fifth. In the spring’s MIAA NCAA championship qualifier, Olivet stood between Saint Mary’s and a spot in the Division III national championship tournament and won the qualifier.
Last fall, Olivet ran the table and won every MIAA jamboree, leaving Saint Mary’s in second place at each tournament.
The Belles have made strides since then, improving under second-year coach Kimberly Moore. This spring, Saint Mary’s competed against several teams ranked in the NCAA Division III or NAIA top-25 polls at the Washington University in St. Louis Spring Invitational, where the Belles finished 11th.
This weekend, the Belles will have a chance to show they’re ready to win their conference as they compete against teams like University of Wisconsin-Stout, Centre College, Wittenburg University, Wilmington College and powerhouse Washington University in St. Louis. The Belles tee off Saturday at 11 a.m. and at 9 a.m. Sunday.