Saint Mary’s fell to Albion yesterday in its conference opener by a score of 2-0.
The Belles (0-3, 0-1 MIAA) came into the match having lost two very tight 1-0 games to non-conference opponents. Heading into conference play, Belles head coach Ken Nuber said he was pleased with his team’s performance thus far, but there was still room for improvement.
“I thought we played well at times and created some great scoring chances,” Nuber said. “We really need to finish opportunities that we create.”
On Wednesday, however, the Belles ran into a very tough Britons team that was predicted to place third in the conference coming into the season. The Britons (3-1, 1-0 MIAA) played up to expectations, outshooting the Belles 21-7, including an 11-1 advantage in shots on goal. Both goals scored by Albion came within three minutes of each other in the first half, as Briton junior forward Domenique Sarnecky scored in the 20th minute and Briton senior midfielder Caroline Eagan followed with her goal in the 22nd minute.
Junior midfielder Jenn Jarmy kicks the ball in a 2-0 loss against conference rival Olivet on Oct. 28, 2014 at Jr. Irish Airport Fields.
The next game on the docket for Saint Mary’s is a road matchup with Olivet on Saturday afternoon.
Still scoreless on the year, the Belles have a tough matchup in the Comets (3-0, 1-0 MIAA). The Comets are averaging nearly 18 shots per game and have yet to concede a goal this season. Nuber said the Belles need be careful yet aggressive on offense in order to come away with a victory.
“As long as we make them defend, we will have success,” Nuber said. “We need to take care of the ball and counter them with our wing backs.”
The Belles are set to next take the pitch against Olivet on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Cutler Athletic Complex.
The Saint Mary’s golf team hosts some of the best Division III teams in the country this weekend for the O’Brien National Invitational at its home course of Knollwood Country Club in South Bend.
“The O'Brien National Invite is ranked in the top-five tournaments in the nation, according to Golfstat,” Belles head coach Kim Moore said. “I expect this weekend's event to be a great one with some very good scores.”
Moore said she and her team expect tough competition from their opponents this weekend.
“All of the teams that have been invited and our coming to this event, except us, were ranked in the top 15 in the nation for NCAA Div. III at the end of the past season,” Moore said.
The Belles are coming off of a fourth-place finish last weekend at the Olivet Labor Day Invite Tournament. Moore said her team learned a lot last weekend.
“Our team learned that we can compete with some of the best teams in the nation,” Moore said. “I know our second round scores from last tournament did not reflect our ability, but we were right there after day one last weekend, so hopefully we can draw some confidence from that.
“I'm excited to see my team compete with the teams playing this weekend. It will be a really big test to see where we are at among the best teams in the nation.”
Moore said she is looking for her team to keep their misses smaller than they were at Olivet Labor Day Invite, where taking penalty strokes got her team in trouble.
“We are looking to improve on hitting greens in regulation this tournament,” Moore said. “We are also looking to keep the ball in play much better than last weekend. We had too many penalties in our last tournament, and if we can keep it in play and not get in trouble we should improve.”
Moore said the team is always excited to host the O’Brien National at friendly grounds in South Bend.
“It is always nice to host an event on our home course, so that should be a benefit to us,” Moore said. “It is a very fun event that our entire team looks forward to every season and this one should be a great one as well.”
The Belles and golfers from around the country tee it up Sunday and Monday at Knollwood Country Club.
The Belles have to run a gauntlet through a trio of league matches this week.
This past weekend, the Belles played in the Elmhurst Tournament and came away victorious in three of their four matches. They beat both North Park and Lawrence in straight sets, and never faced a serious challenge from either.
In their third match, against host No. 19 Elmhurst, they rallied back from two sets down, only to lose the final set (25-23, 27-25, 15-25, 23-25, 15-4). Against the Blue Jays, senior Katie Hecklinski had 15 kills and 23 digs. Junior Clare McMillan added 27 assists, and the Belles took that momentum into their final match, where they beat Wheaton, 3-2.
Wednesday night the Belles were swept in their MIAA conference opener on the road at top-ranked Calvin.
The Belles will continue conference play and face Trine on the road Friday night, and then to cap off their marathon week they will host Adrian on Saturday. Two wins over conference opponents would move the Belles to 2-1 in conference play and give them a leg up on the race for the MIAA playoffs in November.
SMC Cross Country
After hosting its annual Alumnae Race last weekend at Bertrand Park, Saint Mary’s returns to action this Saturday at the Calvin Knight Invitational. The event will be the third of the season for the Belles, but their first scored meet.
At the event last year, the Belles placed in 11th in a field of 25 schools. Junior Brittany Beeler led Saint Mary’s with her individual time 19:32.7 and finished in 40th overall.
The Calvin Knight Invitational is the beginning of a packed early-season stretch for the Belles that includes the Spartan Invitational (Sept. 18) and MIAA Jamboree (Sept. 26) over the course of just two weeks.
Calvin, the event’s host, won the invite last season and will look to defend its 2014 victory this weekend.
The women’s race at the Calvin Knight Invitational is set to begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning.