Saint Mary’s golf finishes first in MIAA Jamboree
Saint Mary’s tied for first place with Hope this weekend at the fourth MIAA tournament of the season at Alma.
Hope and Saint Mary’s have been going back and forth the entire season, with Hope placing first last tournament and the Belles placing first the weekend before that.
The Belles and Flying Dutchmen posted a 33-over-par 321 on the day with third-place Olivet just a stroke behind with a 34-over-par 322.
Three individual players from competing teams tied for first at 76, and Saint Mary’s freshman Kaitlyn Gray placed fourth overall with a 77.
The Belles’ team scored was composed of Gray’s 77, a 78 by freshman Lauren Read, an 80 shot by sophomore Taylor Kehoe and an 81 by senior co-captain Courtney Carlson. Senior co-captain Ali Mahoney was the fifth player for the Belles, carding an 82 to complete the team effort.
Mahoney had a positive outlook on this weekend’s competition.
“I think we had solid scores from everyone on our team,” she said. “There were a few strokes here and there we might like back, but overall we scored well.”
She explained that this tournament proved to the team that they do have the ability to be on top.
“It’s days like Saturday that remind us we are capable of being first in the conference, we just have to bring it every time,” Mahoney said.
The Belles will compete in its MIAA End of Season Weekend Jamboree this Friday and Saturday at Bedford Valley Golf Club in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Mahoney said the team felt confident about facing Hope one last time this fall season.
“We can definitely gain some strokes on Hope this weekend if we all play our own game,” she said. “Winning second place puts us in a good position for the spring, but winning first would be even better.”
The Belles competed in the ITA Regional Tournament this weekend in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Day One of competition took place indoors due to the rainy weather. Sophomore Monica Davy snagged an early singles victory before being defeated in the second round Friday afternoon. Freshman Meaghan Flynn and junior Kelsey Kopf advanced to the round of 32.
Sophomore Abbi Fleming and senior Kaity Venters conquered the first round of doubles before falling in the round of 64 on Saturday. Fleming and Kopf both competed in the singles consolation bracket on Saturday and fell after the second round.
Kopf said she was proud of her team’s performance this past weekend after facing some tough competition.
“Everyone did really well this weekend, in both the singles draw and doubles draw,” she said. “We encountered some highly seeded teams early in the bracket and were able to defeat some of them,” Kopf said.
Kopf reflected on what it was like playing against some new competition, including Chicago and Washington.
“This tournament has a lot of different teams, with some incredibly talented players,” she said. “The playing is always great and gives an insight into what our spring season has in store. Overall, we are happy with our accomplishments this weekend, but of course [we are] always looking to improve.”
Saint Mary’s wraps up its fall competition Friday at Judson University.
Saint Mary’s lost its opening three games to three ranked competition but won its final encounter at the Wisconsin Oshkosh tournament over the weekend.
It was a difficult start for the Belles (8-10, 4-3 MIAA), having to play the 12th-ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (15-5, 1-1 WIAC), and the Warhawks emerged victorious in straight sets, 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-15). Belles senior leftside hitter Meaghan Gibbons ended the game with 10 kills and 12 digs.
Next up for the Belles was No. 19 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Saint Mary’s started strong, winning the first set 25-19. After losing the second, the Belles had a chance to take the tight third set, but the Eagles (15-3, 1-1 WIAC) emerged victorious, and with the momentum of the third set, took the fourth to win the match 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 29-27, 25-15).
On Saturday, the Belles started against the hosts, No. 23 UW Oshkosh, and were swept, 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-16). Gibbons led both teams in kills with 12, while senior spiker Alexis Grady earned 28 assists. After the tournament, Gibbons was named to the all-tournament team.
The Belles’ final game of the tournament was their first against an unranked team, taking on Dominican. The Belles showed consistency with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-20) victory over the Stars (5-14, 3-0 NACC).
The Belles will return to conference play tonight when they play Trine at Angela Athletic Facility. The match begins at 7 p.m.
Saint Mary’s suffered another conference defeat, losing 5-0 at home to Alma.
The Belles (1-9-0, 0-8-0 MIAA) managed to create their own share of chances in the game, starting in the very first minute when freshman midfielder Mary Wandor rolled a shot from 25 yards out just wide of the post. It wasn’t long before the Belles were behind though, as Scots senior midfielder Macayla Greiner was left one-on-one with Belles freshman goalkeeper Thalia Robles and scored to put the Scots (5-3-2, 4-2-2 MIAA) ahead.
Wandor had another chance for the Belles in the first 10 minutes, but her shot was saved, and soon the Scots doubled their lead through senior midfielder Megan Kalanik.
The Belles attempted to get a goal back before halftime, and forced two saves from junior Scots goalkeeper Kelsey Postema in the final minutes of the half but were still trailing 2-0 at the break.
Only three minutes into the second half, though, junior forward Whitnee Foote put the game out of reach with a third Scots goal. Foote and Kalanik each added another in the next 10 minutes to stretch the Scots lead to 5-0 before the hour mark. The Belles tried to get on the scoreboard and freshman defender Emma LaBounty had a shot blocked soon after the fifth goal, but the game ended 5-0.
The Belles will face Albion at 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at Saint Mary’s Purcell Athletic Fields.