Belles set to travel to Florida for spring break
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, March 9, 2017
Saint Mary’s will play five different schools over spring break, as they travel to Florida in hopes of building upon their 3-3 record.
The Belles will open play against UW-La Crosse — who are ranked 15th in the Midwest regional rankings — before meeting St. Scholastica, Goucher, William Smith and St. Norbert.
After a loss to Ohio Wesleyan snapped a three-game winning streak, the Belles lost a tight 5-4 encounter with Aquinas. UW-La Crosse could prove to be a challenging matchup for the Belles, being the first ranked team on their schedule. Eagles junior Bridget Bellissimo is also regionally ranked, both as a singles player and as a doubles pairing.
After meeting the Eagles, the Saint Mary’s will twice have two matches on the same day, as the Belles play St. Scholastica and Goucher on Tuesday, and William Smith and St. Norbert on March 16.
The Belles and Eagles are set to face off in doubles contests start at 9 a.m. on Monday.
Saint Mary’s will open the season with a three-game spring trip to Florida.
In 2016, the Belles broke records for both conference wins and overall wins in a season, and will look to build upon last year’s performance in the team’s opening road trip.
The Belles return key pieces from last year’s team, including 2016 All-MIAA first-team selection sophomore Kate Kelly and Saint Mary’s all-time leader in ground balls, junior Clare Thiesen, who was named a captain for the season. Senior Katlynn Dee, the team’s defensive MVP in 2016, is also among the returning players.
The season-opening trip for the Belles will be made up of games against Smith, Wooster and Western Connecticut State, all on back-to-back days.
Opening draw between Saint Mary’s and Smith is set for Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
Saint Mary’s begins the 2017 season with a busy spring break, meeting 10 different teams as part of the Spring Games in Clermont, Florida.
The Belles begin the week with Manhattanville and Western Connecticut State on Sunday. The next two days each also contain doubleheaders, as the Belles play Ohio Wesleyan and Bethel (Minn.) on Monday before UMass Boston and Anderson on Tuesday. After no Wednesday games, the Belles return to their busy schedule for the remainder of the week, playing UW-Stevens Point and Rochester (N.Y.) on Thursday, before closing out the trip with Millikin and Marywood on Friday.
Last year, the Belles had great success during the Spring Games, going 8-3 — including wins in eight of their opening nine — on their way to a 19-18 season. Among the returning starters for the Belles are juniors Morgan Raymer, Cassie Young and Jamie Young, who were all named All-MIAA selections in 2016. Cassie Young was named MIAA MVP after leading the conference in batting average and total hits.
The Belles start play against Manhattanville on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.