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SMC Soccer: Belles top Alma end losing streak

Dan Murphy | Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Saint Mary’s started its 2006 conference schedule off on the right foot Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Alma College – thanks to two early goals from sophomore Lauren Hinton.

Senior Ashley Hinton set up both plays with what has become a trademark pass between the two sisters. The pair has now connected for nine of Saint Mary’s (2-5, 1-0 MIAA) 11 goals this season.

On both scores, Ashley Hinton fired a long pass from the middle of the field and Lauren Hinton was able to sneak past the Alma (2-7, 0-2 MIAA) defense for a one-on-one opportunity with the goalkeeper.

“Ashley and Lauren found each other really well today,” Belles head coach Caryn Mackenzie said. “And they were able to help our offense settle into a nice rhythm early on.”

Ashley Hinton also added a third assist with seven minutes remaining in the half when her corner kick made it through the box to freshman Colleen Ferguson on the far side. Ferguson buried the pass for her first collegiate goal.

Ferguson was one of several young players who were busy in the game – up to six freshman played at the same time at different points throughout the matchup.

“We’ve been giving minutes to a lot of people, trying to find a good combination,” MacKenzie said. “Sometimes it is good, other times it was tough, but I think we are there now.”

The Belles offense continued to dominate Alma in the second half. The Scots were timid around the ball and collapsed nine players deep into their defensive zone frequently. The extra room to work allowed Saint Mary’s forwards plenty of space to create scoring opportunities.

Freshmen Micki Hedinger and Samantha Goudreau both had chances late in the game but were unable to finish. Hinton also rang a shot off the crossbar, narrowly missing the hat trick.

The constant pressure kept Alma from making any serious threats at a comeback. Senior goalkeeper Laura Heline made one big save early in the second half, but remained virtually untested by the Scots forwards.

“Because it was a conference game we had a whole different focus and a different direction,” MacKenzie said. “We got back on the right track and [the win] was exactly what we needed.”

The Belles have won 10-of-15 against Alma since 1998, with two losses and three ties.

Saint Mary’s will look to continue its success in the MIAA Saturday when it travels to Kalamazoo for a matchup with the Hornets. Alma drops to 0-2 in conference play with the loss and is 2-7 overall.