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Belles get ready for Albion

Ryan Duffy | Tuesday, September 21, 2004

On the road to the MIAA championship, the Belles are hoping that today’s game against Albion will be remembered more as a speed bump than a roadblock.Although the Belles remain undefeated in MIAA play with a record of 2-0-1, Albion presents the first significant challenge visiting Saint Mary’s for today’s 4 p.m. game.”They [Albion] will be a good competitor, there’s no way around it,” coach Caryn Mackenzie said. “Without question, this is the toughest game to date in conference. Our women know it and are prepared for it.”The Belles enter this game after numerous missed opportunities prevented them from coming home with a victory in Saturday’s game against Alma.”We played well on Saturday, even if we came away with a tie,” Mackenzie said. “We did a lot of good things in the last game. I feel good about how we’re playing at the moment. “The team chemistry is improving with each game, and we’re doing good things – we just need to stick the ball in the back of the net.”Saint Mary’s hopes it will not face similar problems scoring in today’s game. Albion’s offensive attack includes four girls in the top-15 goal scorers in the conference, and four in the top 15 for conference points. Despite the Belles’ strong defense, it will be critical not to fall behind such a strong scoring team.”They’ll come with a talented attack team. We’re just going to have to defend well,” Mackenzie said. “It’ll definitely be a pivotal game for us in terms of our MIAA chances, even though it’s only the fifth game.”The Belles will rely on their strong defense, featuring the flat-back-four system, to keep the Albion scorers in check. Although the Belles have played fewer games than most of the other teams in the division, Saint Mary’s currently has the fewest goals allowed in the conference.”They’re still trying to get in the groove with the flat-back-four, but they’re doing a great job making adjustments,” Mackenzie said. “I wouldn’t be using it unless I believed they could play it successfully.”With the majority of their schedule comprised of conference games, the Belles know how important it will be to take home a win against Albion.”Having such a heavy conference schedule, every game matters. We just hope we can put it together with all the talent we have,” Mackenzie said. “We need to come out relaxed, and if we play our game, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”Besides the conference implications, Saint Mary’s looks forward to its most competitive test of the season thus far.”I hope we come fired up from the kickoff,” Mackenzie said. “If you’re a competitor, you can’t wait to play them. We can’t wait to see how we stack up, to see how we play against them. If we play our style of soccer, it should be a great game to watch.”