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Belles win Vacarro tournament

Chris Doyen | Monday, September 17, 2007

Saint Mary’s continued its successful run-up to the MIAA schedule by winning the Sal Vaccaro tournament at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.

The Belles, with sophomore forward Micki Hedinger back from injury, defeated Mount Mercy 3-0 Saturday. The following day, Saint Mary’s defeated North Central on penalty kicks (0-0, 5-3). The Belles’ record now stands at 4-1-2.

Against Mount Mercy, freshman forward Corissa Hart got things started for the Belles, scoring in the 20th minute off a pass from sophomore Katie Wehrli.

Sophomore midfielder Katy Durkin had a breakout performance, scoring the first two goals of her collegiate career in a span of 12 minutes to give the Belles the decisive 3-0 lead. Sophomore defender Jessica Slean assisted Durkin’s second goal.

The Belles defensive unit once again operated on all cylinders, allowing Mount Mercy to register only six shots. Senior Amy Mahoney made three saves and was relieved by freshman Kristin Rhoa in the 83rd minute.

Saint Mary’s recorded 20 shots, eight of which were on goal. The Belles also had a 7-2 edge on corner kicks, something with which they had struggled with last week in a loss to Hope College.

Sunday against North Central, 90 minutes of regulation and a 20-minute overtime left the teams scoreless. The Belles had a 13-7 advantage in shots and a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks but could not take advantage of the gap. Mahoney was perfect yet again, notching her fifth shutout in six starts on the season.

Bridget Ronayne, Hedinger, Hart, freshman Lauren Eaton and junior Mandy Thomson made their penalty kicks for Saint Mary’s, and goalkeeper Amy Mahoney made a save to give the team the win.

“We don’t officially practice shootouts as a team until we get close to the postseason,” Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “But we stepped up well, and Amy took care of one shooter, which was all we asked her to do.”

The returning Belles were happy to avenge the 1-0 loss they suffered against North Central in the 2006 tournament.

“We talked about remembering how we felt after that game last year,” MacKenzie said. “But we fought to get to PKs and got the win.”

The games were the final non-conference tests for the Belles. The team starts league play Saturday when they host MIAA foe Kalamazoo. The week off should allow junior Lauren Hinton, and last season’s leading scorer, to get healthy enough to make her return and bring the Belles one step closer to full strength.

“I’m pleased with our effort everywhere,” MacKenzie said. “Our players who have filled in have done well, and we’re confident no matter who is out there on the field.”