BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - The Calvin women's golf team took third at the weather-shortened MIAA Fall Tournament and in the process, clinched its first spot in the MIAA Spring Qualifying Tournament since the 2013-14 season.
Saturday's final 18-hole round at the Bedford Valley Golf Club was washed away due to unplayable course conditions, forcing the tournament to be shortened to the 18-hole day one round played Friday.
Calvin had a third place score of 342 strokes on Friday to finish in fourth place in the final MIAA overall fall standings that include four MIAA regular season rounds and the lone MIAA Fall Tournament round.
The Knights finished two strokes behind Albion in the final overall team standings and 10 strokes ahead of fifth place Alma.
The top four teams in the final MIAA fall standings qualify for the 54-hole MIAA Spring Tournament which determines the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA III Tournament in May.
At the conclusion of the weekend tournament, senior Nicole VanderYacht (Kentwood, Mich./South Christian HS) was named the recipient of the MIAA Sportsmanship Award - marking the first time a Calvin women's golfer has received the award.
VanderYacht and sophomore Linnea McDonnough (Pentwater, Mich./Pentwater HS) had Calvin's best scores on Friday with rounds of 84.
Calvin finished with a final MIAA season average of 347.0 strokes-per-round, an improvement of 13.3 strokes-per-round over its league average from a year ago.
"Finishing in the (MIAA) top four was one of our team goals before the season began," said Calvin women's golf coach Jerry Bergsma of his team that featured five first-year players this fall. "We just were uncertain how our team would come together but this group has jelled and supported one another. We have had solid play throughout our lineup and our depth has helped us finish third in four of the five league rounds. Qualifying for the spring (tournament) will definitely give us strong motivation to work hard over the winter months and will give us an extra dose of energy for the spring season."
Bergsma also had words of praise for VanderYacht in receiving the MIAA Sportsmanship Award. "The award is a great honor for Nicole and our program," said Bergsma. "The most gratifying part of the award is that it is voted upon by the rest of the league golfers. That speaks highly of the type of person Nicole is and how she handles herself and represents Calvin on the golf course. We are all very pleased to see Nicole recognized with this honor."
Calvin will now break until the spring when it kicks off its spring season with a spring break trip and tournament in Orlando, Florida.
MIAA FALL TOURNAMENT TEAM SCORES FOR 10-5-18
Saint Mary's 304
MIAA OVERALL FALL TEAM STANDINGS THROUGH 10-5-18
Saint Mary's 1553