After MIAA Championship, Belles hoped for more success in spring
Mannion McGinley | Friday, May 15, 2020
The Saint Mary’s Golf team left everything on the fairway this year and brought home the hardware to prove it. The team won its third consecutive MIAA Conference Championship this fall, and head coach Kimberly Moore attributes that success to the spirit of the team, brought out heavily by junior captains Hunter Kehoe and Summer Stilson.
“[The pair] shined this season,” Moore said. “Leading such a young team, they needed to make sure that everyone was buying into our champion culture and working hard to achieve our team goals. Also, they both lead our team in scoring, with Hunter leading the team and Summer being second. However, I really felt they shined through their leadership this year.”
Their leadership allowed for room to grow, especially among the youngest players, but some of those growth opportunities were lost as Moore said she was hoping some of the freshmen would see new playing time this spring.
“I was really looking forward to the spring season because we had three of our top sophomores, Sydney Hruskoci, Hannah Finley and Maggie Sexton, all going abroad in the semester so that was going to give a lot of our freshmen opportunities to get a lot of great competitive experience,” she said. “I had no doubt that freshmen Erin Bennett and Katherine Hopkins were going to step right up and take on the challenge. However, I was really excited to see some of our other freshmen, who didn’t get as much playing opportunities in the fall, get to step up and prove themselves. This was probably the most disappointing aspect, for me, of the cancellation of our spring.”
This wasn’t the only opportunity the team lost upon the cancellation of the spring season; Moore said she knew they had even greater things to achieve.
“It was very disappointing to not have the opportunity to play in the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row,” she said. “In the fall we secured our MIAA Conference Championship, which gave us the advantage in the spring to host two of our three NCAA Automatic Qualifying rounds to earn that NCAA bid.”
But hat didn’t stop the team from making the best of the situation handed to them.
“Our team bonded a great deal,” she said. “We had weekly team virtual meetings, we even had our annual end of the year team banquet, but we just did it virtually. It also allowed our team to reflect on how to take our program culture to the next level.”
Moore said she was still able to find a bright thought in the disappointment of the canceled season.
“Myself and the other coaches and staff worked hard to make sure each team and each season was celebrated, and each senior was recognized to the fullest, even though things were a little different,” she said. “I think the silver lining with this situation is that we all know how easy the gift of sport and the gift of teammates can be taken away just like that. I have no doubt going forward myself and the rest of the teams here at Saint Mary’s will be even more grateful when we can get back together. I know the absence of this spring season has made me really reflect on the time we’ve missed, and it has been such a motivation for me to be a better coach when our season starts again.”