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SMC Soccer: Belles defend undefeated record

By Katie Heit | Friday, September 14, 2012


With the completion of its fourth game of the season and a 4-1 victory over Olivet in the conference opener Thursday, Saint Mary’s keeps proving its team is an undefeatable force. They face their next test Saturday against Adrian.

Belles coach Michael Joyce said he is excited about what these wins mean for his team.
“I think we’ve built up some good confidence over the first few games,” Joyce said. “You can’t turn confidence on and off with a switch. We’ve got some stiff competition coming up with Adrian and Alma our next two games. We’d love to get some results out of these games, but as long as we play well, our confidence should remain high.”

The Belles (3-1-0) are experiencing their second straight year with early-season success. Last season, the Belles outscored their opponents 16-1 and received goals from nine different players as they started off 5-0. A key factor in the positive performances this year is the number of returning players gracing the roster.

On Thursday, junior forward Jordan Diffenderfer scored almost immediately after being subbed into the game, scoring off a pass from freshman midfielder Maggie McLaughlin. Just before half, Belles junior co-captain and midfielder Mollie Valencia took the corner kick and sent the ball over the defenders to Diffenderfer, who shot and notched her second goal, bringing the score to 2-0.

After halftime, senior midfielder and co-captain Maddie Meckes scored on a long shot in the 73rd minute to bring the Belles to 3-0. The Belles extended their lead even further six minutes later when sophomore midfielder Erin Knauf scored her first collegiate goal. Finally, the Comets (0-5) scored in the last few minutes of the match to bring the final score to 4-1.

The Belles look to continue their winning streak Saturday as they take on Adrian at home.  In 2011, Adrian defeated the Belles twice, each time by a margin of three. This year, the experienced Belles will attempt to achieve a different result.

Joyce said if his team performs well, they should have a good chance against this powerhouse.

“Adrian has some very talented attackers,” Joyce said. “If we can shut them down, we’ll be in good shape.”

However, Joyce said he isn’t sure if his team is performing as cohesively as he would like going into this game.

“I don’t know if we’ve found that great chemistry on the field yet, but it is coming along,” Joyce said. “We’re not at our full potential, so it is exciting to think about where we can be.”

The Belles look to prove themselves at home against Adrian on Saturday at 12 p.m.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu