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SMC Soccer: Squad prepares to face winless Tri-State

Meaghan Veselik | Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Saint Mary’s looks to move above .500 in the MIAA today when the Belles head to Angola, Ind., to play last-place Tri-State.

Saint Mary’s (6-3-4, 2-2-2 MIAA) is in fifth place, while Tri-State (0-12-2, 0-5) is looking for its first victory of the season.

“Tri-State has had a very difficult season,” Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “They have no wins in our conference and have been outscored by their opponents significantly.”

Saint Mary’s is coming off a 2-0 loss Saturday to first-place Calvin, in which the Belles had only three shots. That total was their second lowest of the season.

Against Calvin, the Belles struggled in front of the goal, one of their major problems this season. But MacKenzie said her team is better than it showed on Saturday

“[Our goal is to] start the game on the whistle tomorrow, not after our opponents scores on us in the first two minutes,” MacKenzie said. “We must be prepared to play at a high level from the outset.”

The Belles have also struggled this season because of factors beyond their control. Injuries have forced Saint Mary’s to shift players into unfamiliar positions.

But those changes have sometimes had a silver lining. Moving defenders Justine Higgins, Bridget Ronayne and Katy Durkin forward has helped produce several goals for the Belles.

MacKenzie said she wants her team to focus on its own play rather than Tri-State’s record.

“[We want to] play our game tomorrow, not to the level of our opponent,” MacKenzie sais. “We have a lot of things we can work on within the context of the game so I expect that there will be certain things we key on.”

MacKenzie said several players, including sophomore midfielder Sammi Goudreau, have improved significantly and should help the team for the remainder of the season.

“Her last couple games have been tremendous and her contributions immeasurable,” MacKenzie said of Goudreau.

In wins over strong conference rivals Kalamazoo and Adrian, the Belles showed they could compete against some of the top MIAA squads. MacKenzie hopes the Belles continue to add to some of their early-season success.

“I feel like there is a lot of good soccer in us and we have not fully tapped the full potential of our team,” MacKenzie said. “We are capable of playing much better and more consistently.”