Belles set program record for wins in third season
Elizabeth Greason | Friday, May 13, 2016
Saint Mary’s historic season came to a heartbreaking end after the Belles came out on the wrong side of a tie-breaker for the MIAA tournament.
The Belles (8-9, 4-4 MIAA) were able to achieve the best record of the program’s short three-year history but fell short of their ultimate goal of making the MIAA tournament. Despite the way the season came to an end, junior co-captain and goalkeeper Shannon Weyer said she believes the Belles have come a long way.
“The biggest improvement was our overall record,” Weyer said. “It has been amazing to see this team get better each year of our program.”
Junior co-captain and attack Emilie Vanneste also said she thought this season was a productive one.
“We were able to prove to ourselves and to our conference opponents that we have the talent to be a threat,” Vanneste said.
If the team’s reason for falling short of the postseason can be summed up in one game, it would be the Belles’ 8-7 loss to Kalamazoo on April 28, which Belles head coach Amy Long said was a frustrating loss for her and the team. The Belles tied for fourth place in the conference with the Hornets, but the loss cost Saint Mary’s the tiebreaker for a postseason spot.
“That one-goal loss stood between us and making the tournament,” Long said. “It is obviously disappointing to come so close and miss achieving our goal by such a small margin.”
Vanneste agreed and said the Kalamazoo loss is one that will haunt her.
“Walking off that field and looking up at the scoreboard is honestly a nightmare for me,” Vanneste said. “We fought so hard that game and definitely proved that we were the better team; we just struggled to find the net.”
The Belles are already setting higher goals for next season, Long said. She believes that her team has what it takes to go all the way in the MIAA, she added.
“Our goal for next year is to win the conference tournament,” Long said. “We grew so much as a team this year and gained confidence throughout our conference play that we now see how achievable winning the conference next year is.”
Vanneste said she thinks the team’s tough end to the season will spur the program forward next year.
“Losing the heartbreaking tie-breaker has truly fueled the team’s determination heading into next season,” Vanneste said. “We know it’s within reach, and I think that if we can all stick to our training schedule and come back stronger, both physically and mentally, we’ll be ready for what is to come.”