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Belles look for first road win of season

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, October 13, 2004

If the Belles want to have any shot at winning the MIAA, their first task will be figuring out how to win on the road.

Looking for its first road win, Saint Mary’s travels to Kalamazoo today in hopes of improving on its 0-2-1 record away from home.

“It’s going to be a fight against Kalamazoo,” Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “We need to come out with focus and determination, forget about any distractions and concentrate on getting a win. It’s just a matter of attitude.”

For the first time this year, Saint Mary’s will play an away game in the middle of the week rather than on a Saturday. The team is confident it can make the transition smoothly.

“We’re good enough and talented enough to handle the trip up to Kalamazoo,” MacKenzie said. “Hopefully, we can do what we need to do to bring home the win.”

After having trouble scoring goals for the majority of the first half of the season, the Belles have scored 16 in their last two games, a trend they hope to continue.

“I feel good about the way we’re finding the back of the net,” MacKenzie said. “I also am happy with the number of people scoring, because it makes it difficult for opponents to focus on one particular player.”

Although Kalamazoo is a much better team than Tri-State or Adrian, the last two teams the Belles have faced, Saint Mary’s still hopes to flash some offensive firepower.

“We feel good about the way we’ve been moving the ball in the upper third of the field,” MacKenzie said.

The Belles can’t even be sure what caliber of team they’ll face – while Kalamazoo played well against conference leader Hope in a 1-1 tie, it also struggled to squeak out a 1-0 win against last-place Tri-State.

“When you play a less-skilled team, you have to make sure to fight mentally to play your brand of soccer instead of playing to your opponent’s game,” MacKenzie said. “You don’t want to play down to the other team’s level.”

Thankfully for the Belles, that was not the case in their last game against Tri-State. The Belles played strong soccer from start to finish, allowing them to rotate in every player.

“Against Tri-State, we knew what we needed to do, found the back of the net early, and took it to them,” MacKenzie said.

While the last two games gave the team a chance to give necessary momentum and confidence to the Belles, it also provided valuable experience for the remainder of the year.

“The last two games have helped team morale a lot as well,” MacKenzie said. “They were more than just two wins.”