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SMC Soccer: Belles extend winning streak

Chris Doyen | Thursday, September 6, 2007

Saint Mary’s won its third straight game Wednesday in its home opener, shutting out Manchester in a 1-0 win.

Belles sophomore forward Micki Hedinger netted the game’s only score, getting a shot off from 10 yards out that bounced off the crossbar and trickled past the goal line in the 66th minute.

With her game winner, Hedinger became the fifth Saint Mary’s player to register a goal in the Belles’ first three games. Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie believes this kind of offensive balance will be beneficial.

“One of the best things about this team is that everyone is very unselfish,” MacKenzie said. “They don’t care who puts it in the back of the net. They just want to celebrate with whoever does it.”

Manchester sophomore Paige Koomler, who scored four goals in Sunday’s game against Tri-State, had a prime scoring opportunity in the 84th minute but was unable to convert.

MacKenzie attributed the shutout to the outstanding play of Mahoney and the four defenders in front of her.

“I want to give a lot of credit to Amy Mahoney,” MacKenzie said. “She made a handful of amazing saves.”

Neither team could find the back of the net in the first half, although the Belles managed to register seven shots on goal.

The Saint Mary’s defensive unit, comprised of senior Justine Higgins and junior Whitney Fron on the outside and sophomores Bridget Ronayne and Jessica Slean in the middle, also had a strong game.

“They just keep getting better and better,” MacKenzie said. “They’re able to recover well and communicate with each other.

“The outside backs get involved in the attack, and the entire unit serves as a great anchor for the rest of our offense. I couldn’t be happier about how they have been playing.”

On the offensive side of the ball, goals are not yet coming in bunches, but MacKenzie thinks that will change.

“We possess the ball very well and make very good decisions,” MacKenzie said. “We play a much quicker game then we did a year ago, but sometimes we’re looking for the perfect opportunity, even though that may never come, as opposed to just putting balls on frame and seeing what happens.”

The Belles’ record now stands at 3-0, while Manchester falls to 1-2.

With the goal scoring balance the Belles have shown so far, it is clear that they have numerous offensive weapons.

They will attempt to extend their season opening win streak to four games when they visit Hope Saturday.