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SMC Soccer: Pair of late goals beats Kalamazoo

Meaghan Veselik | Monday, September 24, 2007

Saint Mary’s freshman midfielder Julia Gragtmans entered the game in the seventh minute to fill in for the Belles’ injured leading scorer and 70 minutes later arced the corner kick that allowed the Belles to tie and eventually beat Kalamazoo 2-1 on Saturday.

Gragtmans placed the ball in front of the net for sophomore Bridget Ronayne to put in for the 1-1 tie, after the freshman spelled top scorer Lauren Hinton, who left the game with an ankle injury that had sidelined her for the previous three games.

A minute later, senior Justine Higgins raced the ball down the right side of the field and scored the Belles second, and winning, goal. The Hornets tried, but couldn’t come back to beat out Saint Mary’s in the remaining 10 minutes.

“Julia had a great game in terms of energy,” Saint Mary’s coach Caryn MacKenzie said.

The Belles had a tough first half moving the ball forward, and failed to finish when they moved it up. Kalamazoo had only three shots on goal the first half, but managed to get one past senior goalie Amy Mahoney at 27:55.

The second half showed a different story for both teams. Saint Mary’s came back with eight shots on goal, and the Hornets with seven.

“It was a better second half with some positive adjustments that helped get goals,” MacKenzie said. “There was some miscommunication on the defense in the first half, but Amy responded well, with huge, timely saves.”

Kalamazoo was physical and did their best to tire the Belles out in the second half, but they weren’t able to get the ball past the Saint Mary’s defense.

“We had a solid defense,” MacKenzie said. “It was a huge game. [Sophomore defenseman] Katy Durkin had a great second half.”

MacKenize said Higgins, a defenseman, played strong on both sides of the ball.

“Justine plays defense for us, but she created all kinds of havoc for them, and they had no response for her,” she said. “I am so proud that she had the game-winning goal.”