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SMC Soccer: Saint Mary’s prepares for Hope

Katie Heit | Thursday, October 25, 2012

As the season rounds to a close, every point will count as the Belles square up against Hope in an attempt to gain a spot in postseason competition.

Saint Mary’s (11-4-2, 8-4-1 MIAA) is currently ranked fifth in the MIAA standings. Only the top four teams are given the chance to compete for a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Senior midfielder and captain Maddie Meckes said her team has a good chance to come out on top in the matchup.

“Our game [Thursday] will be very challenging,” Meckes said. “Hope is a quick team with a lot of talent, but I believe we can beat them.”

The Belles are neck-and-neck in the rankings heading into their game against Hope (11-4-2, 8-3-2), who is currently ranked second in the conference. Hope, Kalamazoo (10-5-2, 8-4-2) and Alma (11-5-2, 8-4-2) are all tied for second in the conference, with only one more point than Saint Mary’s.

A victory over Hope should give the Belles the boost they need to reach the postseason tournament which could qualify them for the NCAA tournament.

Meckes said the game against Hope will be key in Saint Mary’s postseason bid.

“The win is basically essential for our chances of making the postseason conference,” Meckes said. “We really need to focus tomorrow and play a full 90 minutes.”

Meckes said the Belles 2-0 loss against Alma on Tuesday taught them the type of focus they will need for a victory against Hope.

“Every person on the field needs to be on top of their game,” Meckes said. “I know that all of us are prepared to do just that.”

Meckes said the team’s devotion to success will play a key factor in their performance.

“Our team has a lot of heart, and all of us want all of our hard work this season to pay off as a post season berth,” Meckes said.

The two teams last met Oct. 6 when Saint Mary’s claimed the 1-0 victory early in the match. Sophomore goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum was a key factor in the win, grabbing back-to-back-to-back saves late in the second half and preventing the Flying Dutch from scoring a late equalizer.

The Belles look to secure their place in the postseason as they take on Hope at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu