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SMC Soccer: Belles finish season at .500

Katie Heit | Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Belles closed out the regular season with a strong 3-0 victory over Hope College on Tuesday, securing their 10th victory of the season.

“I think our work rate was incredible this afternoon,” Belles coach Michael Joyce said. “Players really gave everything they had.”

Saint Mary’s (10-10, 6-10 MIAA) scored within the first 10 minutes of the first half when senior midfielder Taylor Paton aimed a corner kick at freshman defender Kerry Green, who secured her first collegiate goal.

The Flying Dutch (12-7, 10-6) had two shots on goal in the first half, but Saint Mary’s freshman goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum blocked both.

“Today we made the big stops where we needed them and converted well on offense,” Joyce said.

Heading into the second half, Saint Mary’s countered another pair of shots from Hope before gaining the upper hand offensively. Sophomore forward Kaitlin Teichman threaded a pass to fellow sophomore forward Jordan Diffenderfer, who buried the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.

Rounding out the scoring, Diffenderfer dodged her defender and slipped a sideways pass to senior defender and co-captain Michelle Marshall, who scored the third and final goal of the game. Tuesday’s victory marked the first time in seven seasons Saint Mary’s defeated Hope.

“Having one of our seniors score in their last game with a few minutes to go was icing on the cake,” Joyce said.

Rosenbaum saved seven shots from the Flying Dutch and secured her second shutout of the season.

“We played 19 players during the game and everyone played exceptional,” Joyce said. “It was such a team effort.”

While the Belles finished just one victory short of a winning season, the Belles put together their best season in the last five years. They started 5-0 for the first time in program history and finished the season ranked sixth in the conference. They also had six shutouts between their two freshmen goalies, Rosenbaum and Natalie Warner.

“It’s the biggest win for the program since I’ve been here,” Joyce said. “We talk about how we’re competitive with the top schools, but until you really prove it, it is all talk.”

Joyce, who completed his second season at the helm of the Belles with the win, said he intends to use the off-season productively in order to further his program’s success.

“We’ve got to start thinking and training in the off-season like the top schools,” Joyce said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu