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SMC Soccer: Rosenbaum notches shutout in draw

Samantha Zuba | Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Belles head to Holland, Mich., on Friday to take on No. 5 Hope and return home to challenge No. 1 Calvin on Saturday in two tough MIAA conference matches.

The Belles (5-6, 3-2 MIAA) are prepared for the challenge, according to Belles coach Toni Elyea.

“We are focused on playing the best volleyball and being the best when it is needed,” Elyea said. “We are so excited to have such great teams playing in our conference and we believe that we are up for the challenge.”

Hope (12-1, 3-1 MIAA) runs a fast offense that has outhit opponents 564 kills to 364 this season. But the Flying Dutch don’t just attack often-they hit accurately. Hope has a .287 team attacking percentage. Junior outside hitter Jenna Grasmeyer averages 4.15 kills per game to drive Hope’s offense.

If Saint Mary’s serves with precision and power, the Belles can confuse the Flying Dutch in transition and slow down their offense, Elyea said.

“Our defense this season has been great when we are transitioning well, however it still needs to be faster,” Elyea said. “Hope will be running a very fast offense so we will need to continue working on our serving to challenge them as much as possible.”

Calvin (13-0, 5-0 MIAA) handed Hope its only loss of the season Tuesday in a 3-0 sweep. The Knights run a high-powered offense with physical players at the net, and Calvin has 84 blocks this season, compared to 46 for opponents.

Saint Mary’s will need to challenge the Knights at the net and showcase its best ball-handling skills, Elyea said. Junior middle hitter Melanie Kuczek is the Belles’ strongest blocking threat with 29 of 52 total blocks for Saint Mary’s.

“Calvin has very tall, physical players,” Elyea said. “Our ball control and offense will have to be very efficient on Saturday to beat them.”

The hitting talent of Hope and Calvin will test the Belles’ defense, but Saint Mary’s has adjusted well to playing out of system during transition play this season. According to Elyea, this will be one of the biggest strengths for her team this weekend.

The bottom line, Elyea said, is each player must play to the best of her ability.

“We will need to go out onto the court and focus on each point as an opportunity to get better,” Elyea said. “It is going to take every single player to come up with their best game to beat both of these teams this weekend.”

Saint Mary’s faces off against Hope on Friday at 7 p.m. in Holland, Mich., and against Calvin on Saturday at 12 p.m. at home.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu


The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC Soccer: Rosenbaum notches shutout in draw

A.J. Godeaux | Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Might as well call Saint Mary’s junior goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum “Stonewall.”

Thanks to Rosenbaum’s career-high 13 saves, the Belles were able to hang on for a 0-0 draw in extra time against Calvin on Wednesday despite being outshot 21-9 by the Knights (4-1-1, 1-1-1 MIAA).

“Chanler had such a great game,” senior midfielder Mollie Valencia said. “She just made clutch save after clutch save.”

One of those saves occurred in the 25th minute, when a Knights shot from just inside the 18-yard box sailed toward the upper right corner of the goal, but Rosenbaum was somehow able to get a fist on it and punch it over the crossbar. Then, facing a flurry of Knights shots as time ticked down late in regulation, an almost identical shot looked like it was going to dip under the crossbar until Rosenbaum, again, punched it out of play.

“Those two saves were incredible,” Valencia said. “We all thought they were going in, but somehow she got a hand on it. … That kept us in the game.”

Although the Knights held a large shot advantage, Valencia said it wasn’t a one-sided game, adding that the Belles without a doubt played on par with preseason MIAA favorite Calvin and had their fair share of chances. In particlar, Valencia mentioned one opportunity in the when sophomore forward Maggie McLaughlin fired a point-blank shot that was saved by Calvin junior goalkeeper Ashton Hearn. Valencia’s rebound bid was then blocked.

“We played a much better game offensively than it might look like on paper,” Valencia said. “We kept possession and played crisply, and we were able to create chances, just not as many chances as we’d like, and the ones we did create we didn’t finish like we can. Still, we’re happy with the result.”

It doesn’t get any easier for the Belles (2-4-1, 0-2-1) moving forward. After taking on the third- and first-place preseason MIAA picks in Alma and Calvin the past two games, respectively, Saint Mary’s squares off against Hope on Saturday. The Flying Dutch, picked to finish second in the MIAA, have won their first seven games to start the year, including their first four to start the conference season.

“We had a bad time against Alma on Saturday, losing 4-0, but we really played well today,” Valencia said. “If we can play like that, we’ll be fine. And really, if we can convert our chances, there’s no reason we can’t beat [Hope].”

“These last three teams – Alma, Calvin and Hope – were the top three finishers last year in the MIAA,” Valencia said. “They didn’t get any worse this year, and we have to play our best against them. But we look forward to that.”

The Belles take on the Flying Dutch at home Saturday at noon.

Contact A.J. Godeaux at agodeaux@nd.edu