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SMC SOCCER: Kalamazoo too quick for Belles

Kyle Cassily | Wednesday, October 5, 2005

They came within a fingertip of mounting a late comeback, but the Belles could not put the finishing touches on a hard-fought game, losing 1-0 at home to Kalamazoo Tuesday.

The Hornets knocked off the Belles in an intense mid-season MIAA match up and dropped Saint Mary’s to 5-3 in conference play and 6-5 overall.

The Hornets scored their lone goal a mere five minutes into the game when Kalamazoo midfielder Sarah Arnosky slid the ball past Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Laura Heline for the score. Saint Mary’s head coach Caryn Mackenzie described the play as a breakdown in the backfield due to a lack of communication.

The Belles’ best scoring chance came when attacker Mandy Thomson received the ball above the goalkeeper’s box in the waning minutes of the second half and pivoted to shoot. Her shot arced high and was headed for the back of the net, just below the crossbar, when Kalamazoo goalie Jennie Smith jumped and managed to brush the ball up over the goal with her fingertips.

The Belles got down in the opening minutes of each period and were forced to play catch-up for a majority of the first and second half. They pressured well, and contained the ball in the Hornets’ zone in an attempt to capitalize on one of their many scoring chances.

“We came out pretty flat and they took advantage; then they put it in the net,” Mackenzie said. “For the next 85 minutes we spent time spinning our wheels trying to figure out how to put the ball in the back of the net. We just couldn’t do it.”

Despite a consistent attack aimed at the Hornets’ goal, the Belles did not get another scoring chance similar to Thomson’s in the remaining regulation time.

Lauren Hinton came within inches of tying the game, as well. The freshman attacker received a pass up the middle from midfielder Carrie Orr and turned to boot a hard shot on net. The ball sailed just over the crossbar, though, leaving the Belles scrambling to get back in the game.

“I just think it was a very physical game; it suited their style of play and not necessarily ours,” Mackenzie said of the game’s rough play. “You have got to respond, whatever the situation is and it was on our home field. We just really didn’t step up and do that today.”

Heline kept the Belles within striking distance during the second half by making several sliding saves. The Belles tallied 14 shots while Kalamazoo fired just six shots at Heline.

Saint Mary’s will next play at noon Saturday at home in a rematch with rival Hope.