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Hope awaits unbeaten Belles

Chris Doyen | Friday, September 7, 2007

Saint Mary’s visits Hope Saturday in an attempt to win its fourth consecutive match to start the season.

The Belles are 3-0-0 after posting victories against Case Western, Saint Lawrence, and Manchester. Hope stands at 1-2-0 after losing its first two games to Denison and Saint Joseph and then defeating Rochester.

In the teams’ lone meeting last year, Hope won 1-0, and the Belles will be looking to avenge that loss after a 1-0 victory of their own in their home opener against Manchester Wednesday.

Hope plays in the MIAA, but Saturday’s game will not factor into the conference standings. Still, Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie expects the atmosphere to be similar to that of a late-season league match.

“Any time we step on to the field with any of our conference opponents, it’s going to have a conference feel to it,” MacKenzie said. “It will be a good introduction for our first-year players to get to know what it feels like before we get into our real conference schedule in a couple of weeks.”

Hope returns 14 letter winners from a team that finished second in the MIAA, including seniors Ellie Tresslar and Sarah Cochrane – two players MacKenzie knows can be dangerous.

“Tresslar and Cochrane both have reputations for being able to put the ball in the back of the net, so we need to contain them as much as possible,” MacKenzie said. “But they have 10 freshmen too, so we’ll be able to find out just how dangerous they actually are.”

While the Belles will be paying close attention to those playmakers, MacKenzie sees no reason to panic.

“We just need to bring our A-game and play with a lot of intensity,” MacKenzie said. “We need to be mindful that they can find a lot of ways to score, but we are just going to match up with them and play our game.”

The defensive corps consisting of junior Whitney Fron, senior Justine Higgins, and sophomores Bridget Ronayne and Jessica Slean will look to continue the dominance it has displayed so far. In the Belles’ first three games, they have allowed only one goal. Five different players have scored the Belles’ first six goals of the season.

This is the first of two games against conference opponents that do not count toward the MIAA standings for Saint Mary’s. Next week, the Belles face Calvin, the 2006 MIAA champions.