Belles set to tee off in third Jamboree
The Saint Mary’s golf team will compete in the third MIAA Conference Jamboree of the year at Thornapple Pointe Golf Course on Thursday. The event will be hosted by Calvin.
“We are looking to improve on hitting greens in regulation this tournament,” Belles head coach Kim Moore said. “Making sure that everyone is using enough club to get to the pins. Our stats show that individuals who hit more greens in regulation are shooting better scores. We also did some really good and challenging short game drills, so I’m looking for some better chipping around the greens tomorrow and Saturday.”
Moore said her team is not very familiar with Thornapple Pointe Golf Course, but it should be able to learn and adapt on the fly.
“Since the top four teams are all very close right now I expect another close finish tomorrow and Saturday,” Moore said. “This golf course is a really nice track, but it can play pretty difficult especially if you aren’t familiar with it, and we’ve only had a few of our players play it once. I always expect my team to play their best at every tournament so I don’t expect anything different for tomorrow, but I know it will definitely take everyone’s best to be successful tomorrow. I have a feeling that after tomorrow’s round we will see some separation among the top four teams.”
The Belles finished in fourth place at the first Jamboree and are coming off of a third-place finish at the second Jamboree.
“Our team has learned that we belong among the top in our conference,” Moore said. “Our scores have not been exactly where I would like for them to be, and we are still in fourth place overall, only a dozen strokes back from 2nd place. I really hope that we use the next two events to pull closer to Olivet College, who is currently in second place, because it would be a big advantage for us to host one of our NCAA [automatic qualifier] rounds this coming spring.”
Saint Mary’s battled Adrian to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday in a tight, double-overtime contest.
The Belles (1-7-1, 1-5-1 MIAA) put forth their best defensive effort of the season in the match, shutting out an opponent for the first time this season. However, the offense continued its struggles, as it was held scoreless for the seventh time this year.
The shots in the game were about even, as the Bulldogs (3-3-5, 1-3-3 MIAA) held a slight 15-14 advantage. However, the Belles’ scoring chances were often stronger, as they put eight of their shots on goal compared to the three on target the Bulldogs had. Despite the result, Belles head coach Ken Nuber said he thought his team deserved a victory in the match.
“It was a little frustrating because we deserved the result,” Nuber said. “We did a great job of counter-attacking and creating opportunities but just couldn’t finish. Their keeper made eight saves and came up big for them.”
Now, the Belles prepare to take on Alma on Saturday in another conference match.
The Scots (3-6-0, 2-5-0 MIAA) are coming off their second conference win of the season on Tuesday, and they currently sit one spot ahead of the Belles in the conference standings. Despite what their record might suggest, the Belles are only three games out of third place in the conference, making every game from this point on all the more important.
Nuber said he believes his team is still very much in the playoff picture and in a position to make a push going forward.
“[We need to] get some luck,” Nuber said. “We are not having any of the breaks go our way. Our leadership has been strong and the team is focused.”
The Belles are set to kick off against the Scots on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Scotland Yard in Alma, Michigan.
After splitting a pair of conference games last week, Saint Mary’s has a tournament and another conference match this week.
Wednesday night the Belles play an Albion team that is 2-4 in conference play, but 11-5 overall. They are one of two MIAA teams the Belles have yet to play, with the other being Alma.
Once it gets past Albion, the team can look forward to playing four games in two days at the Wheaton Tournament in Wheaton, Illinois. The Belles have already played and lost to host Wheaton, who was ranked 19th at the time. In addition to the Thunder, the Belles will also play North Central, Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Wisconsin-Stevens Point is currently ranked 12th in Division-III, but the other two schools are currently unranked.
This is the last tournament Saint Mary’s will play before it finish its season with one non-conference and nine conference games.