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SMC SOCCER: Belles miss out on tournament title

Kyle Cassily | Monday, September 5, 2005

The Belles soccer team fell just short of a tournament championship this weekend after battling through two physically taxing games in a one-day span.

Saint Mary’s faced off against SUNY-Brockport and earned a spot against tournament host Marietta College in the championship of the two-day Marietta College Classic. Both games were close, and both were decided by one goal.

The Belles managed to knock off SUNY-Brockport in the opening game, a double-overtime offensive show that pushed the Saint Mary’s players to their physical limits. The Belles won, 4-3.

The deciding goal came from freshman Whitney Fron late in the second overtime. Fron bent the ball into the upper right corner of the net on a shot taken nearly 35 yards out, driven from the high left side of the goalkeeper’s box. The goal secured the Belles victory after 102 minutes of action.

“It was a great shot, just really well done,” Belles coach Caryn Mackenzie said.

Fron also assisted on the goal that tied the game with a little over two minutes left to play in regulation time. Fron dished the ball to Carolyn Logan, who netted it to tie the game 3-3 and send it to overtime.

Mackenzie was impressed with how her team maintained a consistent level of play through the lengthy game against a physically intimidating opponent.

The Belles’ new field strategy, which shifts a defender to an extra attacker position but maintains defensive support, proved successful.

“We had four different people score in the first game, so having a balance like that really helps to confuse the other team,” Mackenzie said. “It bolsters our confidence that we can spread the offense like that.”

The Belles notched two in the first half on goals by Maura Schoen and Ashley Hinton. Hinton tallied an assist on Schoen’s goal, while Carrie Orr aided Hinton on her strike.

SUNY-Brockport quickly reduced the Belles’ advantage by scoring three unanswered goals between the first and second halves to take a 3-2 lead until Logan tied the game in the waning minutes.

“We just found a way,” Mackenzie said. “We were down and playing a really tight match.

“Our mental toughness in that game definitely was the overriding plus. One of our team goals is to be mentally tough on the road. It was really an Achilles’ heel for us last year.”

Marietta College faced off with the Belles in the championship on Sunday. Marietta walked away with a 1-0 squeaker over a tired Saint Mary’s squad.

The lone goal came just under 10 minutes in the first half. The shot from Marietta attacker Amy Lehosit deflected off teammate Melissa Schulte in front of the net, squirting past goaltender Laura Heline (16 saves in two games) for the goal.

The Belles provided consistent pressure on the Marietta defense but could not find a way to rally for the tying goal. Mackenzie felt her team could have handled Marietta most any other time, but the Belles were forced to come off the grueling SUNY-Brockport game without a day’s rest and play a well-rested host team.

“We didn’t have a lot of gas in the tank. It was kind of brutal to watch us play the second one,” she said.

Four members of the Belles made it to the All-Tournament team. Awarded these honors for the Marietta College Classic were Logan, Hinton, Fron and Carrie Orr.

Saint Mary’s next takes on Illinois Wesleyan away on Wednesday night.