SMC Soccer: Saint Mary’s seeks fourth straight victory
A.J. Godeaux | Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Fresh off their third straight win, Saint Mary’s looks to extend its longest winning streak of the season Saturday in a home MIAA matchup against Kalamazoo.
The Belles (5-4-3, 3-2-3 MIAA) come into the matchup off their second consecutive shutout, a 1-0 overtime thriller over Trine on Sunday. Senior midfielder Mollie Valencia scored the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute on a penalty kick, her first goal of the season. The defensive unit, led by juniors Kerry Green and Mary Kate Hussey, held the Thunder to two shots, helping earn Green MIAA Defensive Player of the Week honors. Junior goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum notched her fourth shutout of the year, recording one save on the lone shot on goal she faced.
In the Belles and Hornets (5-7-0, 4-5-0 MIAA) first matchup Sept. 12, Kalamazoo defended their home turf with a 1-0 overtime win, despite being outshot 23-14 by the Belles. However, Hussey said there is a world of difference between those Belles and the ones the Hornets will play Saturday.
“Team chemistry has improved so much since then, and we are finally clicking not only off the field but more importantly on the field,” Hussey said. “And now that [Belles coach Mike] Joyce has started to get a better feel for newer players everyone is comfortable with the players around them.”
As hot as the Belles have been – they haven’t lost since Sept. 14 – the Hornets come into the matchup almost equally as cold. Despite coming off a 1-0 victory of their own over Trine, the Hornets have lost five of their last six games and six of their last eight. In addition to the differences in form, Hussey said the Belles hold another distinct advantage, albeit a subtle one.
“A huge advantage for us playing on our grass field is Kalamazoo plays on turf,” Hussey said. “That might not seem like a big deal but it’s the type of thing that can tip the scales.”
Hussey said the Belles gameplan revolves around simple hard work and effort.
“Our gameplan is really about just working hard, outworking the other team,” Hussey said. “Other than that, our attitude has to be to encourage each other to play to the best of our ability. If we play to our potential that I know we can, especially the way we’ve played lately, we won’t lose.”
The Belles and Hornets take the field Saturday at noon at Saint Mary’s.
Contact A.J. Godeaux at email@example.com