Belles sports embark through opening week of seasons
Saint Mary’s dropped its season opener yesterday to cross-town rival Bethel in a nail-biting 1-0 game.
The Belles (0-1, 0-0 MIAA) traveled to nearby Mishawaka to take on the Pilots (2-2) Wednesday. After conceding a first-half goal, Saint Mary’s was unable to recover and ultimately fell by a final score of 1-0. The loss marked the third straight for the Belles in the rivalry.
Pilot junior midfielder Diana Diaz-Diurych was responsible for the game’s only goal with just under four minutes remaining in the first half. The Pilots outshot the Belles 18-10 in the game, but both teams put five of their shots on goal. Diaz-Diurych led the Pilots with four shots, with her goal being the only one put on target, while Belles junior forward Liza Felix led the Belles with three shots — all of which were saved by Bethel senior goalie Mallory Conrad.
The next game on the docket for Saint Mary’s is their home opener against Manchester this Saturday. The game marks the second and final contest for the Belles before they begin their conference slate.
The Spartans (0-1) are coming off a 3-1 loss to Trine in their season opener, as they were outshot 19-5 in the game. Despite their poor showing in the contest, Belles head coach Ken Nuber said he expects them to be a tough challenge for his team this weekend given the athleticism of the Spartans.
“Manchester will be a great test going into the conference schedule,” Nuber said. “They have a ton of speed and love to run. We are going to really focus on our defensive shape and countering into the spaces wide.”
Nuber said the game will also be a special one for him personally, as he is very familiar with the opposing coach.
“Manchester will be fun for me because they are coached by Andy Stout, who is a former player of mine,” Nuber said.
The Belles are set to return to the pitch against Manchester on Saturday at noon on Airport Field 6 of the Junior Irish Soccer Club.
Saint Mary’s opened their 2015 campaign Tuesday in Michigan with a Tri-Meet that also included Olivet and Albion. The meet was un-scored, though the Belles did have 10 of the top 14 timed runners.
“It was hot yesterday,” Saint Mary’s head coach Jackie Bauters said. “Just over half the team raced, and I was really pleased to see them work together so much throughout the race. I think our first years that competed were able to get some race jitters out and see how they fit within the team.”
Freshman Adele Edmonds led the Belles Tuesday, and finished third overall with a time of 21:22.09. Fellow freshman Mary Philbin and junior Colleen Ogren were right behind Edmonds and placed fourth and fifth respectively. Philbin had a time of 21:36.62 while Ogren’s final time was 21:37.15.
Outside of their top three runners, all runners who placed between seventh and 11th came from Saint Mary’s. Sophomore Anna McClowry, freshman Emily Harrast, freshman Meghan Allen, senior Colleen Burke and freshman Sarah Allen had consecutive finishes.
Allyson Schultz, a junior from Olivet, was the top runner at the Tri-Meet and finished with a time 20:24.72.
The Belles’ next event will be the Alumnae Race, where they will host at Bertrand Park this weekend.
“Our race on Saturday with our alumnae is also a very chill, low-key race,” said Bauters. “Right now, the team is just chomping at the bit for their first real race at Calvin on the 12th. This weekend should be a lot of fun and a great training run for the team. Hopefully, it won’t be as hot and humid, but that is not looking promising.“
The Alumnae Race is set to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Belles return to action this weekend when they play in the Olivet Labor Day Invite this Saturday and Sunday at Medalist Golf Course in Marshall, Michigan. Saint Mary’s is coming off of a second-place finish in last week’s Cross Town Rivalry.
“Our team is looking to build off of our momentum we received from our good second round from this past weekend,” Belles head coach Kim Moore said. “Our goal is to have two rounds that are a bit closer and consistent. We definitely do not want a 20-stroke difference between team totals, unless it’s 20 strokes less than the 326 we shot last weekend.”
Moore said she believes playing through the inclement weather last weekend was good for her team.
“I think our team learned a great lesson on how to play in the elements,” Moore said. “During our second round, this past weekend, they played in the rain pretty much that entire round. I think it showed them that they can still be successful in less than ideal circumstances. I do think that the course we are playing this weekend, The Medalist, is a little more challenging then the second course we played this past weekend, Elbel. Regardless of the course, shooting a good score like we did this past weekend, is always helpful for our confidence going into the next event. I am really looking to build off of that momentum.”
The Belles will see some familiar competition at the tournament. Conference opponents Olivet, Kalamazoo, Hope and Calvin will compete against the Belles over two days of competition.
“We have worked really hard on some short game drills this week,” Moore said. “We are going to continue to work on those drills the next couple days. However, I am excited for this early tournament to see how we will stack up to our conference opponents. It will be a great way to see what we need to work on leading into our conference play.”
The Olivet Labor Day Invite begins at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday.
If the Belles were nervous for their first game, they didn’t show it, rolling over Manchester in straight sets at home on Tuesday night.
Manchester (0-1) came closest to the Belles (1-0) in the second set, when they got an early lead before falling behind and losing 25-18. The other two sets were not as close (25-15, 25-14), giving Saint Mary’s security until the sweep was complete.
“I thought we played very well,” Belles head coach Denise Van De Walle said. “I thought that we handled the first match jitters well and came out very strong in the first set. I liked how aggressive we were at the net, and I really didn’t find a weak point other than a few mistakes. I thought we looked really good.”
The match was also Van De Walle’s first as head coach.
The Belles will look to build off of the opening win this weekend at the Elmhurst Tournament in Elmhurst, Illinois, which begins Friday and continues into Saturday.