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SMC Soccer: Winless Belles searching for offense before MIAA play begins

Robert Graham | Thursday, September 16, 2010

After a 3-0 loss Wednesday night to Elmhurst (5-1), Saint Mary’s will need to collect themselves quickly before it hosts Illinois Tech on Friday.

The Belles (0-6) are still in search of their first win of the year with only three games remaining until conference play begins. The Scarlet Hawks should provide this team with another opportunity to gauge their strengths and weaknesses as MIAA play approaches.

Illinois Tech comes into South Bend with an impressive 5-2 record. The Belles will need to contain a potent scoring attack for the Scarlet Hawks, who are headlined by the play of sophomore Lauren Capuano and junior Emily Tilton.

Capuano, a midfielder, has scored a team-high eight points and four goals on the year, while Tilton has contributed six points and three goals of her own. Illinois Tech’s goalkeeper, sophomore Amy Arnhart, has also been impressive so far, giving up fewer than two goals a game on average.

Aside from playing strong defensively, the Belles look to try to generate more scoring chances. The Belles have an MIAA-low two goals to show for their efforts so far.

Freshman midfielder Mollie Valencia will need to continue to generate scoring chances for the Belles by adding onto her team-high eleven shots. She and junior forward Katelyn Tondo-Steele have accounted for almost 40 percent of the team’s shots this year.

Joyce pointed out that that might be a statistic indicative of the fact that the team’s offensive struggles might be solved with more ball distribution.

“We’ll concentrate on our offensive movement,” Joyce said.

For Joyce, however, the biggest key for his team is to be assertive.

“The big thing for us is to play with confidence,” he said. “A number of losses affects your confidence, but we’ll be hungry for a victory.”

If the Belles can start to correct some of these issues tonight, they may be able to begin their conference schedule with the momentum needed to generate several wins. Tonight’s game kicks off at Saint Mary’s at 5:30 p.m.