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SMC Soccer: Saint Mary’s looks to rebound against Knights

Dan Murphy | Tuesday, September 19, 2006

After a controversial overtime loss Sunday, Saint Mary’s is fired up for an away match with conference foe Calvin College this afternoon at 4 p.m.

Although the teams are both in the MIAA conference, the game will not count towards either team’s league record. But the teams are motivated nonetheless.

“Calvin has been at the top of the conference for as long as I’ve played at Saint Mary’s,” senior goalkeeper Laura Heline said. “They are a rival that we aim to upset every time we meet them.”

The Belles dropped their last game of the Sal Vacarro Tournament 2-1 Sunday in double overtime. The final goal, scored by North Central College’s Michelle Daly, appeared to be offsides, but the goal stood and Saint Mary’s fell to 1-3 on the season.

“We’ll use Sunday’s OT loss as motivation,” senior forward Colleen Courtney said. “Having them score with 16 seconds left should be a lesson learned that it’s important to play 100 percent for every second of the game.”

Calvin comes into the contest having won the first seven games of its season. The Knights have dominated their opponents, outscoring them 22-3.

Freshmen goalkeepers Kayla Sulzer and Alyssa Bergsma – along with the Calvin defense – have posted four consecutive shutouts.

“We have to break down their defense and get the ball in the back of the net,” Courtney said.

The Belles’ offense is led Lauren and Ashley Hinton – the sisters have three goals each in the first four games of the season. Senior Caroline Stancukas also contributed a goal for the Belles in Sunday’s game against North Central.

On the defensive side of the ball, Heline and the young Saint Mary’s defense will have their hands full with the Knights’ offense. Calvin is led by senior forwards Sarah Weesies and Jill Capel – the two have seven and six goals respectively on the season.

“Right now our plan is to play our game. We are not planning any special attacks or defenses,” Heline said. “We know that they have strong, experienced forwards and midfielders, so we will need to play tight in the back and control the midfield.”

The two teams met twice last year and the Knights took both games 1-0 and 3-0. Capel, who had 21 goals in 2005, had one in each win, and Weesies added two more in the second victory. Calvin went on to win the MIAA championship with a 15-1 record.