SMC seasons get underway
Golf places second at opening tournament
Saint Mary’s finished second in their first tournament of the season Saturday as the team took on No. 22 Bethel and Holy Cross in the Cross Town Rivalry. The team improved on a combined first-day score of 346 by shooting 326 on the second day to finish with a final score of 672.
Bethel finished first at the tournament with a two-day final score of 646, and Holy Cross shot 715 overall to take third place out of three.
“I felt my team held their composure, especially on a very soggy round 2,” Belles head coach Kim Moore said. “I was also very proud of the way they bounced back from a 346 in round 1 to a 326 in round 2, a very impressive 20 strokes. I felt the majority of my team limited the big numbers and kept it to mostly pars and bogeys. I’m really looking forward to working on a couple things this coming week that I noticed we weren’t as strong at.”
On Friday, junior Ali Mahoney, freshman Taylor Kehoe, freshman Patty Meza, and junior Courtney Carlson all finished with scores of 86, putting them in a four-way tie for fifth place on the day. However, Kehoe pulled ahead for the team with a day-two score of 79 to finish No. 4 overall in the tournament. On Saturday, Mahoney and Carlson each shot 82 to finish with total scores of 168 in a two-way tie for fifth overall in the standings.
Junior Rachel Kim, sophomore Kaitlyn Cartone, and senior Katie Zielinski all shot 88 to finish in a four-way tie with Bethel’s Katie Brooks for tenth place on the day. Cartone’s Saturday performance moved her into eighth overall, but the others fell out of the top-10 individual rankings.
“I really want our team to use the momentum of today’s second round as we prepare and play this coming weekend in Marshall, Michigan,” Moore said. “I will be using today’s success to instill some confidence and excitement going into this coming weekend. Our next event will be a really good test as to how we stack up to some of our conference schools. Olivet, Hope, Calvin and Kalamazoo will all be there. It will be a great warmup going into our conference play in September.”
Soccer set to kickoff season against Bethel
Saint Mary’s begins its season Wednesday evening when it takes on cross-town rival Bethel at Morey Field at 7 p.m.
While the Pilots (1-2) already have three games under their belt, the Belles have yet to take the field this season. Belles head coach Ken Nuber said he is excited to finally have the opportunity to see his team in game action.
“I’m very excited for the players to finally get on the field to compete,” Nuber said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how our team battles on game day. I have been very happy with training and the energy they give, but it’s different on game day.”
In addition to the excitement, Nuber also said he expects the Belles to be relentless in their effort.
“Expectations are that we will compete for every ball and keep a big work rate for 90 minutes,” Nuber said. ”Results will come if we can be consistent.”
Despite their record, the Pilots should pose a tough challenge to the Belles, Nuber said. Saint Mary’s has lost to Bethel each of the last two seasons, and now the Belles are set to play the Pilots away from the friendly confines of Angela Field. Nuber said his team will be facing a tough defense and quick-strike offense, so they need to play a possession-based game in order to come away with a victory.
“Their strength is their keeper and their center backs,” Nuber said. “They will try and get the ball behind our backs quickly so we need to be organized in the back. We are going to look to possess the ball and play our flanks as much as possible.”
Kickoff between the Belles and Pilots is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow evening at Morey Field.
Cross country opens 2015 with Tri-Meet
Saint Mary’s opens its 2015 cross country slate Tuesday with a Tri-Meet against Olivet and Albion. The Belles’ first race of the season follows a 2014 season that culminated in an 18th-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
“Tuesday is going to be a really low-key race with only part of the team competing,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Jackie Bauters. “My primary goal is to get my first years out racing in their uniforms for the first time and staying relaxed as we prepare for the competitive portion of our season. More than anything, I hope the team has fun.”
In 2015, the Belles return junior Brittany Beeler, who was voted the team’s Most Valuable Runner last season. Beeler’s sophomore season also included a spot on the All-MIAA second team and All-Regional honors at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
“Brittany and I have discussed her goals [this season] and we’re on the same page,” said Bauters of Beeler. “We want one more weekend of travel at the end of the season. She has come back more confident this year and I think that will be one of her biggest assets in reaching her goals.”
The overall schedule for the Belles this fall will include up to 10 events if they qualify for NCAA Nationals. Following Tuesday’s event, Saint Mary’s will race in the Alumnae Race at Bertrand Park on Saturday.
“We have a phenomenal group with a lot of young talent,” said Bauters. “I’m excited to see what they can do this year. I’m also very excited to have senior Allie Danhof back and healthy, as she will make a big impact. I think it is going to be a really fun season.”
Van De Walle begins inaugural season as volleyball coach
Tuesday is a big day for Belles head coach Denise Van De Walle, as she will be coaching in her first match for the Belles against Manchester at 7 p.m.
Though she has coached in many debut matches throughout her career, which includes stops at Bowling Green and USA Volleyball, she said her nerves are the same.
“I get nervous and excited for every match,” said Van De Walle. “I have had many, many years of home openers. Since it’s my first match as the head coach of the Belles I want to do well … I want to enjoy every minute of it.”
As for the players, the Belles have fought adversity through the offseason with the coaching change, and Van De Walle said she is happy for them to settle in and play volleyball.
“We are on a journey together,” Van De Walle said. “We have been learning about each other the past two weeks. It’s been a very short preseason with a lot of change for them and me.
“With all that being said, I am looking forward to watching my team compete. I want them to play hard and stay aggressive all the way through the match no matter what the score. I want to see hustle from start to finish. I want them to enjoy this competition and give all they have for the team.”