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SMC Soccer: Belles begin MIAA stretch with Trine

By Matt Unger | Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Looking to return to the winning ways that marked the Belles’ early season, Saint Mary’s begins a stretch of four straight MIAA matches on the road Tuesday with a game against Trine College.

After winning the first five games of their season, the Belles (6-4, 2-4) have since dropped four of five, including a 2-0 home loss Saturday to Kalamazoo.

To get past the Thunder and avoid dropping to seventh place in the nine-team MIAA, the Belles will look to convert more of their opportunities on offense. In Saturday’s match, Saint Mary’s managed 14 shots — only three less than Kalamazoo — but failed to convert any of the opportunities into goals.

Senior midfielder/forward Katelyn Tondo-Steele will look to spark the Belles’ offensive efforts. Tondo-Steele leads the Saint Mary’s squad with 10 shots on goal for the year, and is tied for the team lead in scoring with three goals thus far.

Meanwhile the Belles’ defense will look to continue its strong play so far this season. The defensive squad has surrendered a mere 11 goals in 10 games and has given up more than two goals on only one occasion.

Saint Mary’s youth at the goalkeeper position have also contributed to the Belles’ backfield efforts. The team’s two goalies, freshmen Chandler Rosenbaum and Natalie Warner, have together saved 77 percent of shots sent their way.

In the upcoming match, the Belles face a Thunder team (3-6-1, 1-4-1) that has dealt with its own struggles lately, winning just one of their last seven games.

However, Trine put forth an encouraging effort Saturday as it took MIAA-leading Alma College to a scoreless tie. Though goals have proven hard to come by for the Thunder offense, the defense has stepped up over the past four games, allowing a mere two goals cumulatively.

The Thunder defense has been anchored by the strong play of senior goalkeeper Jen Wall. Facing a barrage of 23 shots from the Alma offense Saturday, Wall managed to save all 11 shots on goal.

Saint Mary’s will travel to Angola, Ind. on Tuesday to take on Trine College at 4 p.m.

Following Tuesday’s game, the Belles will travel to Holland, Mich. for a match at Hope College on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Contact Matt Unger at munger3@nd.edu