Saint Mary’s rides strong finish, individual play
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, May 18, 2018
The Belles put together a successful winning season, but they eventually met their end in the MIAA tournament semifinal at the hands of second-seeded Hope.
Initially, Saint Mary’s (16-10, 10-6 MIAA) struggled in September, unable to find a groove. This led to a rocky 5-7 start to the season. However, the Belles put it together a hot streak in October and continued on to win 11 of their following 14 matches.
The Belles’ hot play carried them to earn a No. 3 seed in the MIAA tournament, joining the top four teams in the conference for the second-consecutive year. They matched up with Hope (19-11, 12-4), after going 1-1 against the Flying Dutch during the regular season. The Flying Dutch edged out the Belles in a 3-0 final after three closely-contested sets.
This year for the Belles was highlighted by strong individual play that earned a a number of players conference recognition. For the first time in program history, three Saint Mary’s players earned All-MIAA honors. Senior captain and right side Rachel Bonek and freshman outside hitter Marielle Corbett were First Team All-MIAA selections, while junior libero Audrey Shannon earned Second Team honors. Additionally, Corbett earned the honor of Freshman of the Year, as selected by league coaches.
Now, as the 2017 season is behind them, the Belles must part ways with their seniors, who in many ways contributed to the team’s past success. This includes captains Bonek and middle hitter Leah Buck. The former, as mentioned, earned All-MIAA honors this past year while the latter earned CoSIDA Academic All-District Honors.
The Belles now prepare for the 2018 season, where they hope to return to the MIAA tournament for the third-straight year.