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SMC Soccer: Excited Orr anticipates final year

Nate Dyer | Friday, September 2, 2005

For any college athlete, one’s senior year is supposed to be the best year of his or her life. For senior captain Carrie Orr, this senior season for the Saint Mary’s soccer team will be the final chapter of a book she has been writing since childhood.

“I just want to have fun with my teammates,” Orr responded when asked about her final season. “This is my last year playing soccer, and I have been playing it my whole life, so I am going to just play it to the best of my abilities and work hard out there everyday.”

As the team heads to Marietta, Ohio for a two-day tournament Saturday and Sunday featuring schools from the state universities of New York in preparation for their first real test against Illinois Wesleyan on Wednesday, Orr will be asked to lead a young team that lost seven seniors from last year’s team.

In changing from a flat-four back to a new three-player zone defense focused on speed, the Belles look to generate a faster tempo, relying on high-energy play from the extra midfielder to take advantage of the solid middle of the lineup. With the shift to the zone defense came higher intensity practices to get the team adjusted to the new style of play.

“Our keys to winning are going to be high energy and being the first to put pressure on the other team,” said Orr, praising the team’s quickness and athleticism.

The new offense certainly seems to be working, as the Belles were able to light up the scoreboard in an Aug. 23 scrimmage against Bethel College, defeating the Pilots 6-2, without allowing a goal after the first half.

Senior Shannon Culbertson said that the new zone attack will be successful in adding offense without sacrificing a defense that allowed two goals or less in every game last season but one.

“We will still have a great defense because our middies will still be strong,” she said.

With a tough opening schedule that sees the team beginning the season with three consecutive road games and facing tough rivals Hope and Calvin Colleges on the road, the team will need to perfect the new offense quickly if the Belles hope to improve on the solid 9-6-1 MIAA record of last year.

But the team can not get caught looking ahead, as it first must navigate through the Marietta tournament and then travel to face a tough Illinois Wesleyan team.