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SMC Soccer: Belles to compete with neighbor

Matt Stewart | Monday, September 3, 2012

Saint Mary’s does not have to travel far for its final test in non-conference play, as it will challenge neighbor Holy Cross Tuesday. The Belles will try to earn their second win of the season following a win against Bethel and tie against Illinois Tech this past weekend.

Belles coach Michael Joyce stressed that these first few games of the season present an excellent opportunity to find who belongs at each position.

“What we’re mostly concentrating on these first few games is getting the right people in the right positions on the field,” Joyce said. “So that is the biggest thing we take away from the games, who can perform at a high level when there is pressure.”

Joyce noted the strength of the team’s defense and said he is hopeful for offensive improvements.

“I think our defending will be a strength for us all season,” Joyce said. “I don’t think we’ll allow many goals this year, but we’ll have to do a better job of finishing and creating chances offensively.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum was at the core of the defensive front in the first two games. Rosenbaum, last week’s MIAA defensive player of the week, has not let a goal past her so far this season.

Chanler’s superb goalkeeping will be essential against Holy Cross, who tallied 50 shots against St. Mary of the Woods last week.

“She gives our team a lot of confidence to defend aggressively,” Joyce said.

The Belles will hope to add onto the first defensive effort of the first two games against Holy Cross. The team will try to solidify each position prior to conference play, which starts Sept. 13.

“The Holy Cross game is one more chance, and our last chance to get prepared for our conference games,” Joyce said. “So we’ll concentrate on a few players in positions to make sure we’re set up for conference play.

“The team will be excited to compete again quickly. We were a little unsatisfied to come away with a tie at Illinois Tech, so it will be nice to get back on the field quickly to try and get a result.”

The Belles will take the field at Holy Cross on Tuesday at 5 p.m.