Belles beat Hornets, even conference record
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, September 24, 2015
Saint Mary’s leveled its MIAA record Tuesday night with a three-set sweep of rival Kalamazoo at Angela Athletic Facility.
The Belles (8-3, 2-2 MIAA) rode a .390 attack percentage, the program’s highest rate since hitting a .415 percentage against Western New England College on Oct. 21, 2008, to a 25-16, 25-15, 25-8 victory over the visiting Hornets (1-11, 0-5 NIAA).
In comparison, Saint Mary’s defense held Kalamazoo’s offense to a .036 attack percentage while piling up five blocks and forcing 17 Hornet hitting errors.
Senior outside hitter Katie Hecklinski paced the Belles with 12 kills on 24 attempts while making just one hitting error. Hecklinski also added eight digs and a block to her score sheet by the end of the night.
Junior outside hitter Meaghan Gibbons led the way for the Belles on the defensive side, registering a game-high 11 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist McKenzie Todd added another nine. Junior setters Clare McMillan and Alexis Grady each dished out 16 assists for the Belles.
Gibbons (.533) and junior Colleen Kilgallon (eight kills, .500) each posted kill percentages at .500 or higher in the victory.
The Belles continue play this weekend by hosting Hope at the Angela Athletic Facility on Friday at 7 p.m. before squaring off with another conference rival the next day on the road at Olivet.
Saint Mary’s will return to action this weekend as the Belles prepare to compete in the MIAA Jamboree, hosted by Hope.
The Jamboree will be the Belles’ fifth meet of the season and fourth in the past three weeks.
The MIAA Jamboree will feature team scoring, which was not counted in last weekend’s Spartan Invitational, where the Belles were paced by junior Brittany Beeler, who took 99th place overall.
In their last event that featured team scoring, the Belles took 15th place at the Knight Invitational in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Four Belles — Beeler, junior Kaitlyn Alessi, sophomore Anna McClowry and junior Maggie Pacana earned collegiate personal records at that invitational, which was hosted by Calvin.
The MIAA Jamboree will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Ottawa Golf Club on Saturday in what will be Saint Mary’s final meet of September and last before the Benedictine Invitational on Oct. 9.
Saint Mary’s fell to Calvin Wednesday at the Jr. Irish Airport Fields by a score of 3-0.
The Belles (1-6, 1-4 MIAA) were coming off of their first victory of the season in a decisive 4-1 victory over Trine last Thursday. Their four goals in that game marked a season high, and the three-goal margin was their largest victory since the 2013 season.
Yesterday, though, the Belles ran into a Knights (7-2, 5-0 MIAA) team currently undefeated in the conference. Calvin only trails conference leader Hope by a half-game.
The Knights scored the first goal of the game in the 11th minute when senior midfielder Paige Capel netted her first goal of the season. She carried the ball through three defenders before firing a low shot towards the inside right post that snuck by Belles freshman keeper Rachel McCarthy. The Knights followed that score with a rebound goal by freshman midfielder Bekah Maguire in the 36th minute, giving them a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, Calvin continued to push the ball on offense, but Saint Mary’s was able to hold off the attack until Capel scored her second goal of the game in the 80th minute. The Belles only took one shot in the final ten minutes of the game, and fell by a final score of 3-0.
The match marked the fourth time this season the Belles were shut out by their opponents, as their offense managed only four shots throughout the game. In addition, the Belles’ defense was unable to counter the Knights’ attack, as Calvin managed to take 21 shots in the game and put 11 of them on goal.
The Belles will next take the pitch Saturday against Hope at noon at Van Andel Soccer Stadium in Holland, Michigan.
In its first conference jamboree of the season, Saint Mary’s shot a 346 and placed fourth Wednesday at Medalist Golf Club.
Hope walked away with the win, as its 317 was a 23-stroke advantage over runner-up and tournament-host Olivet’s score of 340. Trine finished just one stroke ahead of the Belles in third place, shooting 345.
In the tournament, the Belles were able to place two golfers in the top 10. Freshman Taylor Kehoe finished in a tie for seventh place, as her one birdie and eight pars were good for a team-best 82 on the day, trailing the medalists by four strokes. Junior Courtney Carlson was not far behind, and her 83 on the day was good for a share of ninth.
Juniors Ali Mahoney and Rachel Kim rounded out the team score for the Belles. Mahoney’s 89 earned her 24th, as she finished in the top 15 for scoring on par fours in the tournament. Kim’s six pars on the day led to a score of 92, which was good for 27th place.
Senior Sammie Averill and sophomore Isabella Speedon also competed in the tournament for the Belles. Averill was the fifth golfer in the Saint Mary’s lineup, and her 95 earned her a share of 32nd. Speedon, however, competed as an individual and shot a 94 to tie for 29th.
The Belles will next tee off Saturday at 1 p.m. at Milham Park Golf Course in Kalamazoo, Michigan.