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SMC Soccer: Belles host Alma, honor seniors

Alex Barker | Friday, October 9, 2009

The Belles will hold senior day when they play host to conference foe Alma Saturday as they look to get back in the win column after a loss to Calvin earlier this week.

Saint Mary’s (4-8-1, 1-2 MIAA) will return to action after having played one of its best games of the season earlier this week when it pushed the heavily favored Knights to the brink before falling 1-0 in the final minutes.

“We played a great match [against Calvin],” coach Ryan Crabbe said about Tuesday’s contest. “Our approach to the game was to defend first and try to eliminate the space where Calvin’s team speed could hurt us. The team committed to the plan and played very well. We gave ourselves a chance to tie or win by keeping the game close for 90 minutes.”

Although it was their most complete game of the season, Crabbe admitted that there are still quite a few areas where improvement is needed.

“The one item I would like to have seen changed was not letting the other team’s best player beat us,” he said. “Prins is the top player in our conference. We should have made it come from their second, third or fourth option on the field.”

The Belles began conference play earlier this season with a 3-0 loss at Adrian before notching a 6-0 victory over Trine.

While their record is somewhat of a disappointment so far this season, Crabbe said likes the progress his team is making and is looking forward to seeing more complete performances from his team.

“We showed that we could execute a plan and stay committed to it,” he said. “Additionally, there were players that showed a lot of maturity by sacrificing playing time because the style of play did not suit some of [them].”

With the Scots coming to town, Crabbe stressed the importance of getting conference wins so as to not fall too far out of the playoff race.

“The need for a win is absolutely imperative,” he said. “It has less to do with a third conference loss and more to do with moving up the standings and staying inside the top-six in the conference. We have to play for a spot in the post-season tournament.”

After being shut out in each of their first two conference losses, Saint Mary’s will look for an early goal against Alma to break the scoring slump they have faced throughout much of the season.

“We need to score first,” Crabbe said. “I have challenged our players to play with the lead. Playing from behind only makes it more difficult to get results.”

Saint Mary’s showdown with Alma is scheduled to kickoff at noon Saturday.