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Belles win tourney to begin year

Chris Doyen | Monday, September 3, 2007

The Belles made a late rally to win the first game of a two-game tournament and followed it up with a dominant victory in the finale to take first place for the weekend.

The Belles defeated hosts Case Western 2-1 Saturday and Lawrence University 3-0 on Sunday to win the Case Western Invitational in Cleveland.

In Saturday’s game, junior forward Lauren Hinton got a shot past Case Western goalkeeper Kirsten McClain in the 14th minute for the early 1-0 lead. The Belles held that margin for nearly 70 minutes until Case Western’s Kaitlyn Yule scored her team’s only goal, beating Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Amy Mahoney.

“It took us about 30 seconds to register the fact that we still had time to play,” head coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “We had the advantage in possession throughout the game, so it didn’t take us long to regroup.”

And regroup they did, as junior midfielder Whitney Fron notched the game winner in the 85th minute, just over two minutes after Case Western had tied the score.

“It was encouraging to see them respond in such a positive way,” MacKenzie said.

Mahoney recorded three saves while earning the victory.

Sunday’s game was slightly less dramatic, but the result was just as positive for Saint Mary’s.

The Belles defeated Lawrence with a balanced scoring attack. Freshman midfielder Julia Gragtmans scored off a pass from sophomore midfielder Katie Wehrli in the 40th minute for the 1-0 lead. Sophomore midfielder Corissa Hart then scored an unassisted goal in the 51st minute, and Gragtman assisted on a goal by Hinton in the final minute of the game.

Sophomore Patty Duffy recorded five saves in goal and was replaced in the 77th minute by freshman Kristin Rhoa, who was not tested by any Lawrence shots.

“We’re still feeling that out,” said MacKenzie about using three goalkeepers in two games. “All three did well, so we’re still in wait-and-see mode. It’s a good problem to have.”

Whoever earns the job as starting goalkeeper will have a very proficient defense playing in front of them.

“Our defense was very solid,” MacKenzie said. “We were difficult to maneuver past or go over the top of. We were very organized and communicated well, and our outside defenders made some nice runs out of the back.”

MacKenzie was also encouraged by the balanced offense, as four different players scored the team’s five goals over the weekend.

“That’s one of the things we talked about heading into the tournament,” she said. “We don’t need to rely on one or two individuals to get it done, and we demonstrated that quite well.”

The Belles will try to ride this wave of momentum when they host Manchester in their home opener Wednesday.