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SMC Soccer: Belles shake down Thunder

Joe Meixell | Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saint Mary’s ended its regular season on a high note Wednesday afternoon with an 8-0 shutout of Tri-State.

“It wasn’t an ideal game right before the conference tournament, but I guess it was good to get a little confidence booster,” said Belles coach Caryn Mackenzie.

The Belles (5-8-1, 4-3-1 MIAA) wasted no time in establishing the tempo of the game, controlling the ball on offense for the first nine minutes of play. The Thunder (0-7-0, 0-14-0) did not control the ball until three minutes into the game, but by that time they were already in a 1-0 hole.

Freshman Katie Wehrli got the scoring started when she dribbled past Thunder goalie Vicki Bearman and buried the shot for her second goal of the season.

Seven different players were able to find the back of the net against the Tri-State keeper, with striker Micki Hedinger as the only player with multiple goals. The freshman scored twice in a three-minute span to end the first half.

“She had a nice game,” Mackenzie said. “She has improved a little bit every game and she has really showed some great speed for us.”

Hedinger raced past two Thunder defenders for her first goal after receiving a long pass from Sarah Budd. With just under four minutes left in the half, she got loose again and beat Bearman on a rebound front of the net. The goal gave Saint Mary’s a 5-0 edge heading into the break.

Although Bearman gave up eight goals to the Belles, she had 21 saves in the game against 41 shots by the Belles.

The offensive onslaught slowed at the beginning of the second half as both teams sent out only 10 players because of injuries suffered to a shorthanded Tri-State team.

Even with only 10 on the field, the Belles continued to move the ball well against Tri-State, but did not find the back of the net again until the 70th minute when senior Colleen Courtney found Mandy Thomson on a first-touch pass off a throw-in.

“[Courtney] has always been a tough player for us,” Mackenzie said. “We are going to miss her along with the rest of our seniors.”

Courtney heated up in the second half with another assist on a long pass to Justine Higgins who finished the play in the lower left corner of the net. She also put the exclamation point on her final regular season game scoring the team’s eighth goal with just under five minutes remaining,

With the win Saint Mary’s finished tied for third in the conference with Hope College. The Belles lost the head-to-head match-up so they were given the fourth seed in the tournament coming up this weekend.

Saint Mary’s will face Kalamazoo at home this Saturday in first round play. The game time hasn’t been announced yet.