Belles take fourth ahead of NCAAs
The Belles took fourth place Saturday at the MIAA Championship Race, hosted by Olivet at Broadway Acres Golf Course in Charlotte, Michigan.
Junior Brittany Beeler, who has been the top runner for Saint Mary’s at all meets this season, once again ran a noteworthy race. Beeler finished sixth overall and earned All-MIAA First Team honors. She finished the race in 22:40.5, the second best time in program history at the MIAA Championship race.
Senior Allie Danhof posted her second consecutive personal record with a time of 23:53.3, which put her in 23rd place overall.
Following their efforts at the MIAA Championships, the Belles will have this weekend off before returning to action in the NCAA Regional race. That race will take place on Nov. 14 in Terre Haute, Indiana and is set to begin at 11:00 a.m.
Saint Mary’s season ended over weekend after the Belles recorded two losses and a victory Friday and Saturday.
The Belles fell, 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 24-26, 25-22), to conference opponent Alma at home Friday. They split results Saturday, losing 3-0, on-the-road to Albion, before rebounding, 3-0, over Kenyon that afternoon. The Belles closed the season with an overall record of 15-13 and a conference record of 7-9.
Alma won the first set on Friday night by a score of 25-20 and responded, 25-18, to win the second. Alma capped off the match victory with a fourth-set score of 25-22. Before the Scots closed the match, the Belles managed to win the third set, 26-24, after coming back from 15-9 deficit. Junior Meaghan Gibbons recorded 12 kills, 10 digs, three aces and one assist, while junior Collen Kilgallon had six kills, three digs and one assist. Senior Katie Hecklinski had eight kills and 14 digs.
Saturday saw the Belles lose three straight sets to Albion (25-17, 25-23, 25-16). The Belles and Brits were tied, 9-9, in the first set right before the Brits went on a 7-0 run to that paved the way for their 25-17 win. Halfway through the second half of the second set, the Brits outscored Saint Mary’s 12-4 to close the set, while the Brits never trailed in the 25-16 final set. Gibbons had eight kills and eight digs for the Belles, while McMillan had one kill, eight digs and 15 assists.
The Belles rebounded in their final match of the weekend, winning three straight sets to defeat Kenyon (25-11, 25-17, 25-19). The Belles held 9-3 leads in both the first and second sets and maintained a cushion of four in the third set. Hecklinski had 15 kills, eight digs and one assist for the Belles, while Grady had seven kills, 10 digs, and 19 assists in the match. Kilgallon had seven kills in the match, while Gibbons had four kills and eight digs.
Saint Mary’s concluded its season Monday, dropping its final match to Alma and also falling in a match against Adrian Saturday.
The Belles’ (2-15-1, 2-13-1 MIAA) penultimate game pitted them against the Bulldogs (5-9-6, 3-9-4 MIAA) on Saturday. After recognizing the careers of its three senior captains — defender Lindsay Rzepecki and midfielders Maggie McLaughlin and Kathryn Lueking — the Belles were unable to establish any momentum on the field, and they were shutout for the 12th time this season in the 2-0 loss.
Adrian opened the scoring game when sophomore forward Mackenzie Wilcox knocked in a rebound following a save by Belles junior goalie Liza Felix in the 14th minute. The teams then went back and forth in goal-scoring opportunities until the 63rd minute, when Bulldogs sophomore forward Allyse Zondlak found senior forward Katt Sutherland on a cross to secure the 2-0 victory for the Bulldogs.
The Belles faced the Scots (9-8-1, 8-7-1 MIAA) in their final game of the season. The game was a tale of two halves, with the Belles controlling the first half of play before the Scots dominated the second half to win 3-1.
In the first half, Saint Mary’s was able to outshoot Alma, 10-6. The advantage paid off early for the Belles, as Rzepecki scored her third goal of the season in the 14th minute to give the Belles an early lead. Felix also had a strong half, securing four saves to maintain the Belles, 1-0, lead going into halftime.
The Scots, however, came roaring back in the second half, particularly on offense. They outshot the Belles 13-2 and scored three goals in 11 minutes to secure a 3-1 victory. Junior midfielder Jessica Burg scored the first goal of the half in the 72nd minute. Junior midfielder Megan Kalanik and senior midfielder Lyndsey Malson followed up with goals in the 78th and 82nd minutes, respectively, to hand the Belles their 15th loss of the season.
Saint Mary’s ends its season with an eighth place finish in the MIAA and loses all three captains from this year’s squad to graduation, including its leading scorer, Rzepecki.