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SMC Soccer: Belles suffer first loss of the year

Vicky Jacobsen | Monday, September 19, 2011

Adrian struck early and often, scoring one goal in the fourth minute and two more in the first half on the way to a 4-1 victory, handing the Belles their first defeat of the season.

“We did not play well in the first half,” Belles coach Michael Joyce said. “We failed to sort out what they were doing offensively and it cost us.”

The Bulldogs (4-2, 2-0 MIAA) took the lead 3:22 into the game when junior midfielder Lauren Cozzi slid into a pass from Adrian sophomore forward Sam Barker, shooting the ball past Belles freshman goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum and into the lower-left corner of the net.

Despite a crucial clearance from senior defender Keely Noonan moments later, the Belles (5-1, 1-1) found themselves in a 2-0 deficit in the 14th minute after Barker scored a goal of her own in the right side of the net.

The third Adrian goal came with just a minute left in the half when sophomore forward Alex Bowen dodged the Belles defense and scored, puncturing the Belles’ momentum going into the half.

“Their third goal a minute from half was tough ¾ three goals down is tough to come back from,” Joyce said. “We were able to talk about things and sort it out at half, but we were already down 3-0 at that point.”

Despite the lopsided scoreboard, the Belles came out of the halftime rejuvenated. Saint Mary’s junior midfielder Maddie Meckes was granted a free kick in the 64th minute, which sophomore midfielder Mollie Valencia corralled and headed into the right corner of the goal for the Belles’ first score of the game.

Cozzi answered the score from Saint Mary’s in the 72nd minute when she dribbled through the Belles defense and tapped the ball into the left corner of the net for her second goal of the game.

“The second half was much better. Our defense really stepped up in the second half, and we did pull one goal back, but we needed to keep the game closer,” Joyce said.

Despite the loss, the Belles are still off to their best start since 1992, when they played seven games without a loss.

Joyce said that losing its perfect record will not affect the way the team performs in its next game against Alma, the defending MIAA champion.

“We weren’t expecting to go undefeated for the year, so we didn’t give much thought to it, but it was a nice start,” Joyce said. “We’ll have to play a little better defensively on Thursday and not give up easy chances.”

The Belles look to start a new win streak when they face Alma at home at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu