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SMC Soccer: Belles knocked out of playoffs by Kalamazoo

Dan Murphy | Monday, October 30, 2006

The season came to a dramatic end for the Belles Saturday afternoon as they lost 4-3 in a shootout in the first round of the MIAA playoffs.

Fifth-seed Kalamazoo came in to the game as an underdog to the fourth-seed Saint Mary’s club. After 110 minutes of scoreless play, the Hornets buried four of their five penalty kicks to advance to the semi-final against the Calvin Knights.

“We were obviously disappointed because we all played so hard,” senior captain Colleen Courtney said. “But we were happy with how well we played.”

Senior defender Kari Brodsky scored the final goal to break a 3-3 tie and end the Belles’ season.

Kalamazoo jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the shootout when shots from Ashley and Laura Hinton both missed wide right.

Kelly Lepper, Jenn Russart and Paige Howell rounded out the scoring for the Hornets in the first three rounds. Senior goalkeeper Laura Heline made a diving save on the fourth shot, giving the Belles a chance to stay in the game.

Courtney and freshman Bridget Ronayne had scored for Saint Mary’s at that point, giving Heline an opportunity to tie the game as she came out of the goal to take the team’s final attempt.

“I wanted to be in that spot and I knew I was going to score because we deserved to win,” Courtney said.

She converted but was unable to make the final save to send the contest into sudden death.

Heline, who started all but two games in her four-year career, finished the game with eight saves for the Belles. She is one of six seniors who played their final game at Saint Mary’s Saturday.

Heline, along with fellow tri-captains Courtney and senior Ashley Hinton, end the year with a 5-8-2 record because the loss was technically considered a tie. Caroline Stancukas, Nicole Leach and Sarah Budd round out the senior class.

“We had a lot of freshman this year and I think that we showed them how important team unity is. I hope that they can continue that next season and in the future, ” Courtney said.

She had one of the teams five shots on net during regulation. Ashley Hinton – who had 24 shots on goal during the regular season – led the team with two on Saturday. Freshmen Colleen Ferguson and Micki Hedinger had the other two shots but opposing goalkeeper Kassandra Johnston was true to the task on all five shots.

Head coach Caryn Mackenzie had her first losing season with the Belles in her third year with the program. The team went 10-6-1 in 2004 and 11-7-1 last year.