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SMC Soccer: Controversial no-call prevents Belles draw

Dan Murphy | Thursday, September 7, 2006

Saint Mary’s got off to a slow start this season with a 2-1 loss to Albion Wednesday, as the Belles looked exhausted towards the game’s end – struggling to match their opponent’s intensity.

“It was not an easy day for any of us today,” Belles head coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “We just couldn’t seem to find our flow at any point.”

Brittons freshman Allison Oatley scored the game winner for Albion in the 70th minute. Oatley hammered home a rebound after freshman Brittany Cortese got loose on a controversial breakaway. Cortese looked to be offside – but the play stood and the Britons took the lead for good.

The goal came after a 45-minute stalemate in which both teams threatened to score several times but could not seal the deal. The Belles had three cornerkicks and eight shots in the scoreless stretch, but the team seemed to be just a little off on each attempt.

Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Laura Heline also faced quite a few shots and made some big saves to keep the game in reach. Heline stopped two breakaways, including a two-on-none opportunity for Albion’s Danielle Shepard and Oatley.

“We need to work on staying more organized in the back,” MacKenzie said. “That is where we have a lot of inexperience, and I think we will gain confidence as the year goes on.”

Mackenzie, now in her third year at Saint Mary’s, used many new players in the game through frequent substitutions.

This year’s team is much deeper than any of MacKenzie’s previous groups. Mackenzie says she does not intend to use her bench quite as much in the future, but that she needed to try to develop a rhythm in the game.

“It seemed like the longer I left them out there, the less fluent it became,” she said.

The Belles fell behind early as Albion’s Shepard scored her third goal of the season seven minutes into the contest. After settling their nerves, Saint Mary’s answered 12 minutes later when sisters Ashley and Lauren Hinton hooked up for the third time this year.

Ashley Hinton floated a pass over the Briton defense and Lauren Hinton finished from 10 yards out to tie the game with 25 minutes left in the half.

Lauren Hinton continued to get scoring opportunities throughout the game but was unable to capitalize again. The offense sputtered in the second half, but Mackenzie still saw positives.

“This year will be a learning process,” she said. “We have a young and talented group this year with a lot of things to build on.”