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Flu and injuries plague roster

Ryan Duffy | Friday, September 24, 2004

The only opponent the Belles can’t seem to beat this year is the common cold.

Thanks to an outbreak of illness and some coinciding injuries, the Saint Mary’s lineup will be less than certain heading into Saturday’s game at Olivet College.

“We’re feeling good about how we’re playing, but we’ll have to deal with a couple players as question marks thanks to a bug that’s spread among the team,” coach Caryn Mackenzie said. “Hopefully, we’ll be back to full health soon.”

The Belles also have had to deal with injuries suffered in their 2-0 win against Albion on Tuesday. Center midfielder Ashley Hinton, who scored a goal in that game, sustained a mild concussion when she attempted a header and make contact with another player’s head instead. She has not practiced with the team since and is considered questionable for Saturday’s game.

Sharing her headache is sophomore Carolyn Logan, who also suffered a head injury in the Albion game. Logan, however, is expected to be available for the game against Olivet College, and her coach remains optimistic about the injuries situation.

“This is a team that is capable of playing with anyone, and we’ve got lots of talent from top to bottom on this squad,” Mackenzie said. “Something like this happening allows us to find out who else is capable of coming in and stepping up. These are the challenges you face as a team; you just have to make adjustments and adapt.”

Luckily for the Belles, their misfortune may have come at an ideal time. Olivet is 1-2 in the MIAA and near the bottom of the conference standings. Nevertheless, Mackenzie warns about looking past their next opponent.

“I always remind them, ‘Take it one game at a time, and respect your opponents,” Mackenzie said. “The MIAA can be anyone’s game on any day, so you just have to bring your game, step out on the field, and play good soccer. We keep that in perspective, and we’ll be fine.”

The Belles’ biggest problem this year has not been looking past their opponent, but rather, they have struggled to play at a high level for an entire game.

“We haven’t quite put together two quality halves, back to back,” Mackenzie said. “We either start out really slow in the first half, or we fight through the second half. We’ve been consistently inconsistent.”

In its last game against Albion, Saint Mary’s jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and played strong, possessive soccer. But in the second half, the team’s effort seemed inconsistent, and it had to struggle to hold off their opponent. Mackenzie hopes this will be different in Saturday’s game.

“We really want to put two good halves together instead of fighting from behind or worrying about holding on,” Mackenzie said. “This team has the talent to put a great game together. We’ve been fortunate thus far to win the games where we didn’t play consistently the whole way through. We’re looking to change that.”