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SMC Soccer: Belles face three key conference games

Dan Murphy | Friday, October 13, 2006

Saint Mary’s begins its biggest week of the season Saturday afternoon when the Belles take on Hope College in one of three conference games over fall break. The team will take on Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) foes Adrian and Calvin later in the week.The Belles, who have had a week off from game action, will enter this weekend’s contest well rested. Saint Mary’s took down Olivet in its last game thanks to two goals from senior midfielder Ashley Hinton. The win was the Belles’ third in the MIAA, putting them in second place with nine points.With a little bit of help from Alma, who plays Tri-State Saturday, Saint Mary’s could enter next week’s Calvin game with a chance to take over first place in the conference. The Knights are currently No. 5 in the nation in the Division III NSCAA poll, having won all 13 of their games this season and outscoring their opponents 44-4. Alyssa Bergsman has been outstanding in the net for Calvin, allowing an average of only 0.29 goals per game. Saint Mary’s fell to the Knights 6-1 earlier this season in an exhibition. Sophomore Elizabeth Ribbens led the way for Calvin with a hat trick and freshman Allison Boedner added two more. Lauren Hinton scored the lone goal for the Belles as they reached their low point of the season at 1-4. Saint Mary’s coach Caryn Mackenzie has righted the ship since then as the Belles won three of the next five as MIAA play began to heat up. The team feels it is now ready for a rematch with the veteran Knights. But before they reach that point, the Belles have two more big games to worry about against Hope and Adrian. Saint Mary’s will travel to Holland, Mich first to take on the Flying Dutch, who are coming off of a 7-1 win over Tri-State. The win was the team’s first in conference play this year. Junior Ellie Tresslar led the way for Hope with two goals and an assist.Three days later the team will be at Adrian College for a showdown with the Bulldogs. Adrian (4-9, 2-2 MIAA) is led by freshman phenom Lindsay Chitwood who has netted seven of the team’s nine goals on the season. If Saint Mary’s can stay on top of its game over this stretch the team will be in perfect position heading into the season finale and the conference tournament, which kicks off Oct. 28.