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SMC Soccer: Saint Mary’s dominates in win over Comets

Vicky Jacobsen | Monday, October 10, 2011

Saint Mary’s smothered the Olivet attack Saturday, outshooting the Comets 20-4 en route to a 3-0 victory.

The Belles (8-5, 4-5 MIAA) stifled the Comets (2-11, 2-7) from the beginning of the game, not allowing a single shot until the 33rd minute. Junior midfielder Rebecca Gaarde recorded two of the Comets’ four shots, including their only shot on goal.

“Olivet is a decent side, but maybe does not have as deep a roster as we do,” Belles coach Michael Joyce said. “They had the same three-games-in-five-days schedule, and I think they were a little worn down from the week.”

Sophomore forward Jordan Diffenderfer corralled the ball from a scrum in front of the goal and sunk it into the goal to give the Belles a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute, and scoring for both sides froze for the next 50 minutes of play.

“The game was 1-0 for a long time, but it never seemed like the win was in jeopardy,” Joyce said. “I think that last 30 minutes we totally dominated the game.”

With 20 minutes left in the game, first year forward Kelly Wilson drove into the box, luring Olivet freshman goalkeeper Patty Groh away from her net. Belles senior defender Keely Noonan beat Groh to the ball, and lofted it into the net for her first goal of the season.

In the 81st minute, Diffenderfer recorded her fifth goal of the year after receiving an assist from freshman midfielder Hillary Burton. Saturday’s match marked the first time Diffenderfer scored more than one goal in a game in her collegiate career.

“Jordan also [did] a great job getting in the right spots to score,” Joyce said. “Hopefully Jordan can build on today and keep scoring consistently.”

Joyce also had praise for other members of his squad.

“[Sophomore midfielder] Mollie Valencia really stood out, not only yesterday but all week. We had three games in five days, and she played every minute at center-mid and worked tirelessly each game,” Joyce said. “[First year defenders] Kerry Green and Mary Kate Hussey were solid in the back and didn’t give Olivet too many chances to see the goal.”

The win puts Saint Mary’s in sixth place with 12 points in the MIAA conference standings and 12 points behind first place Adrian. Olivet sits in seventh place with six points.

Although his squad missed a few chances, Joyce said he was pleased with the Belles’ overall performance.

“We created a lot of good opportunities on goal yesterday ⎯ we didn’t convert as many as I would have liked,” Joyce said. “We easily could have scored 5 or 6 goals, but I’m happy we kept putting ourselves in great positions to score.”

The Belles have a week off before they travel to Alma for the last of four straight road games. They will kick off against the Scots at noon Saturday at Scotland Yard in Alma, Mich.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu