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SMC Soccer: Team faces challenge at Adrian

Victoria Jacobsen | Friday, September 16, 2011

Undefeated Saint Mary’s will face a tough road test Saturday as it meets Adrian College.

The Belles (5-0, 1-0 MIAA) rolled through the first quarter of their season without much difficulty, scoring 16 goals in five contests. They surrendered a sole goal Sept. 6 to Manchester.

Saint Mary’s defeated Olivet by a score of 3-0 in the conference season opener Wednesday, but Belles coach Michael Joyce expects the Bulldogs to be more of a challenge.

“There are a number of good teams in the conference and Adrian is one of them,” Joyce said. “We’ve done very well against the easier competition so we’re excited to see how we stack up against the conference contenders.”

After losing to Wittenberg and Denison, Adrian snagged an upset over Alma.

“Adrian beat last year’s conference champion and this year’s favorite Alma 3-2 [Wednesday], so we’re expecting a tough game,” Joyce said. 

The Belles will focus on stopping the offensive onslaught of Adrian forward Sam Barker, who has five goals and three assists so far this season, including two goals and an assist in Wednesday’s victory.

“Obviously we’re going to have to pay close attention to her,” Joyce said. “If we can shut her down, we’ll give ourselves a good chance to be successful.”

The Saint Mary’s attack has been led by senior Katelyn Tondo-Steele, junior Maddie Meckes and sophomore Jordan Diffenderfer with three goals apiece.

Saturday’s match will be the first conference road game of the season for Saint Mary’s, but Joyce doesn’t think the site puts his team at a disadvantage.

“They have an artificial turf field which changes the game a little — so we’ll have to adjust for that — but I think we play well away from home,” Joyce said.

The Belles will kick off against the Bulldogs at 12 p.m. Saturday at Adrian College.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu