After a third place finish at the Fall Preview in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., the No. 5 Belles will refocus their attention to conference play today in the third of four MIAA Jamborees. No. 12 Olivet will play host at the Medalist Golf Course.
Saint Mary’s coach Mark Hamilton said that there are distinct advantages to a quick turnaround such as this, as well as the more obvious disadvantages.
“After playing on a tough golf course this weekend, this course is going to look easier than it normally would,” Hamilton said. “We’re in the scoring mode right now.”
The Belles will have to recover quickly from a late arrival to prepare themselves both physically and mentally for today’s matchup. Saint Mary’s returned home from the trip south around 1 a.m. Monday.
“We had a long trip home,” Hamilton said. “It’s not a lot of time to prepare, and we haven’t gotten very much sleep. But college players are good at being able to work without a lot of sleep.”
After facing some of the stiffest competition around at the Fall Preview, including No. 1 Methodist U., Saint Mary’s has been able to elevate its play to that level. They will look to carry that high level into today’s Jamboree.
“[The competition] won’t be quite as tough,” Hamilton said. “Our main rival, Olivet, is the host, and we want to beat them more than the No. 1 team in the country.”
Methodist claimed the title Monday at the Mission Inn Resort, and No. 10 Illinois Wesleyan finished between them and Saint Mary’s.
Saint Mary’s was led once again by senior Mary Kate Boyce, whose cumulative score of 165 at the Fall Preview was good for fourth place overall and a key for the Belles’ top three finish. She will be the player to beat today as she is the reigning MIAA Golfer of the Week.
The Belles have only two more chances to place themselves in a good position for the MIAA Championships Oct. 8-9. Today’s Jamboree is crucial for the conference standings, which are determined by the cumulative score of each team’s performances in the four regular season Jamborees.
The Belles will tee off at 1 p.m. at the Medalist Golf Course hosted by Olivet for the third MIAA Jamboree.