After mixed start to season, Belles look to rebound
The Belles are competing in another two-day tournament this weekend at the Hanover Fall Classic. Hanover is hosting the event, which will be held at Sunrise Golf Course in Madison, Indiana, on Saturday. Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour, Indiana, will be the playing location for Sunday’s matches.
Last weekend, the Belles secured a fourth-place finish in the Olivet Labor Day Invite by shooting 473. A rough first day put them in sixth place, but improvement the next day helped the Belles jump in the standings.
Junior captain Lydia Lorenc reflected on last week’s outcome, saying it gave insight into what the team needs to do in order to succeed in the tournament this weekend.
“I think the team will come out more aggressive on day one than in the last tournament,” Lorenc explained. “Now we have a better idea of our competition and our ability to play against them. I know that we will start out strong and finish strong.”
The Belles started the season off by placing second in the Cross Town Rivalry Tournament in late August. Saint Mary’s junior Kaitlyn Cartone emphasized the team’s excitement about the remainder of this season and said that their goals to succeed are no exception for this weekend’s event.
“I think we are a really competitive team this year and we go into every tournament expecting to play well,” Cartone said. “This tournament is no different. We know that the competition is tough, but I have no doubt we can win this.”
Saint Mary’s notched its first win of the 2016 season on Wednesday night against Manchester, securing victory by a score of 3-1 (25-23, 27-29, 25-20, 25-20).
The Belles (1-4) opened up a 14-9 lead in the first set, but the Spartans (1-4) brought it back to 18-18 and it remained close before the Belles clinched the set thanks to a service error. Manchester took a 19-14 lead in the second set, on the back of seven consecutive points, but the Belles fought back to lead the set 27-26 before the Spartans eventually won the closest set of the contest.
The Belles took the third set, with the winning kill by senior left side hitter Meaghan Gibbons, before securing the victory in the fourth set thanks to a kill from middle hitter Colleen Kilgallon. Kilgallon totalled 14 kills for the Belles, leading the team, while Gibbons notched up 10. Junior middle hitter Leah Buck led both teams in blocks with five, while freshman libero Kaylin Szucs led the match in digs with 21.
The Belles will open conference play Friday when they play Adrian. The Bulldogs (4-1, 1-0 MIAA) won their conference opener against Trine 3-1 (25-8, 25-19, 18-25, 25-21).
The Bulldogs and the Belles will begin play at 7 p.m. at Saint Mary’s.
Saint Mary’s had a difficult start to its conference schedule, losing away to Albion 4-0 Wednesday night.
The Brits (2-0-1, 1-0 MIAA) were dominant in terms of creating chances, taking 24 shots and placing 20 of them on target, while the Belles (1-2-0, 0-1 MIAA) could only get away two.
Albion created pressure early, with three corner kicks inside the first four minutes, but freshman Belles goalkeeper Thallia Robles kept the scores tied for nearly half an hour, making seven saves. Albion’s freshman forward Riley Burnette found the opening goal, however, in the 28th minute. The Belles conceded a second only four minutes later to go into the half 2-0 down.
Into the second half, Albion continued to dominate, and added two more goals. The best chance of the game for Saint Mary’s came just after the hour mark, when freshman defender Callie Doyle had a shot saved.
Robles finished the game with 16 saves, the most by a Belles goalkeeper in six years.
Next up for the Belles is a home encounter with Olivet. The Comets (2-1-1) played out a 1-1 draw with Adrian in their MIAA opener.
Saint Mary’s and Olivet will kick off at noon Saturday.
Saint Mary’s returns to action this weekend at the Alumnae Race Saturday.
The Alumnae Race, the second event for the Belles this season, follows the Belles’ 8th-place finish at last weekend’s Calvin Invite.
Senior Brittany Beeler led the Belles with a 13th-place finish and a time of 19:03.6. Junior Reilly Pieri and senior Kaitlyn Alessi were the next top runners for the Belles and finished in 45th and 53rd, respectively. Katie Glenn led all freshmen runners for the Belles with a time of 21:23.0 in her first race with the team, which put her at 95th overall.
The Alumnae Race is set to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at Saint Mary’s.