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Belles remain undefeated, improve to 2-0 in MIAA

Joe Meixell | Thursday, September 16, 2004

Facing their first real conference challenge, the Belles continued to show that they’ll give everything they have to reach their goal – an MIAA championship.

Saint Mary’s took another step toward its final destination Wednesday, posting a 3-1 win over Kalamazoo in its home conference opener. The win kept the Belles undefeated in MIAA play and extended their overall record to 3-0.

The Belles fell behind early in the first half, with Kalamazoo scoring to make it 1-0 and playing a physical game that seemed to give Saint Mary’s trouble. But sophomore midfielder Ashley Hinton evened the game later in the first half off an assist from Carrie Orr. Thanks to an assist from Orr, Hinton scored on a corner kick to tie it 1-1 at the end of the first period.

Luckily for the Belles, the rest of the game was a much different story.

“We were a little shaky in the first half, especially after they scored their first goal,” Orr said. “But we came back out in the second half and settled down. Everyone did a really good job of getting their heads back into the game and just playing good soccer.”

In the final period, the score remained tied until Jen Concannon buried a cross from Carolyn Logan for her third goal this season. Logan would also assist Katie Noble for an insurance goal late in the game.

Logan helped add to the lead again soon after with an assist to Katie Noble for a goal that put the Belles up 3-1, completing a second-half turnaround which saw Saint Mary’s play with much more team chemistry.

“We played really well together. Kalamazoo challenged us, but we knew we just had to get back into our own game,” goalie Laura Heline said. “They were very physical, but we came back in the second half and played them hard.”

Heline credited much of the team’s success to their defensive effort.

“Our defense is stellar,” she said. “I’m so glad to have who I have in front of me. I never have to worry about whether they will play well, because they always do.”

Strong games from Katie Taylor and Shannon Culbertson allowed the defense to keep the ball in Kalamazoo’s zone for nearly the entire second half. Shutting down their opponent’s scoring opened up plenty of opportunities for the Belles’ offense.

“Our defense does a great job of feeding the long ball to our forwards, which creates scoring opportunities,” Heline said. “This team works well together, we have a lot of team unity.”

Team chemistry has been one of the many things this year that has kept Saint Mary’s a step ahead of their opponents.

“We played well as a team, especially in terms of playing off each other, knowing where every one is going to be, and playing as a unit,” Orr said. “Everyone stepped it up when they needed to.”

The improvements in the team’s all-around play have allowed them to be much more competitive in the MIAA than in the past.

“Kalamazoo has always been a big game for us,” Orr said. “In years past, they’ve beaten us badly. This was a great way to start off. It prepares us for when we travel to Kalamazoo to play them, and it sets the tone for the season.”

Like all the players, Heline has her sights set on MIAA glory.

“It was awesome to start 2-0 in the MIAA,” she said. “We set our goal high; our goal is to win a MIAA championship, and we’re on our way.”