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SMC Soccer

Belles fall to Kalamazoo, prepare for Alma

| Thursday, September 11, 2014

In a tightly-contested opening game of their conference schedule, the Belles fought their way out of an early hole but ultimately lost to Kalamazoo, 2-1.

The Hornets (4-1, 1-1 MIAA) got off to a fast start, scoring in just the second minute when sophomore midfielder Madeleine Chilcote received a pass on the right flank and hit a shot from the top of the box, sending it into the back of the net on the far post.

Saint Mary’s junior defender Lindsay Rzepecki controls the ball during a game against Alma on Oct. 16. Observer File Photo

Saint Mary’s junior defender Lindsay Rzepecki controls the ball
during a game against Alma on Oct. 16.

The Belles (2-3, 0-1), however, were able to draw even in the 33rd minute when senior defender Mary Kate Hussey headed a corner kick by sophomore defender Emily Rompola out of the air for her team-leading second goal of the year.

“The early goal [by Kalamazoo] was rough,” Belles coach Michael Joyce said, “but we responded well and were able to get back into the game.”

As the game progressed, the Hornets had the edge offensively with 12 shots and nine shots on goal, compared to nine shots with four on goal by Saint Mary’s.

They were able to capitalize on the added chances in the 59th minute, on a sequence that started when Kalamazoo sophomore defender Suzanne Miller took a shot that was saved by Belles senior goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum deflected the ball off the crossbar, but the ball bounced right to the feet of Hornets freshman defender Christina Dandar, who finished a one-time shot from the six-yard box to put Kalamazoo up, 2-1.

Saint Mary’s tried to fight its way back and tallied three shots in the waning minutes of the game, but the team was not able to create enough chances to break through for a goal and the game ended in a 2-1 loss.

“Down the stretch we just didn’t play well enough,” Joyce said. “[We made] a few too many mistakes when we had the ball and didn’t create enough good opportunities.”

With 15 more games on its conference schedule, Saint Mary’s has plenty of time to recover from the loss in its conference opener, but Joyce said they will have to make a few adjustments moving forward.

“We’re going to need to be a little more aggressive in the midfield attacking and take a few more chances dribbling and running at players,” he said.

The Belles will have their second conference game this weekend against Alma, who finished second in the MIAA last season with a 13-3 conference record.

The Scots (3-2, 1-1) have a potent offense, with 99 shots in just five games so far, including nine goals. Junior forward Kelly Wilson and freshman forward Whitnee Foote lead the team with two goals apiece.

After beating Calvin in their conference opener, the Scots lost 2-1 to Albion on Thursday, and Joyce is confident in the Belles’ ability to overcome Alma as well.

“I feel good about Saturday,” he said. “We’ve always played Alma well at home and think this is the year to finally get on top of them.”

The Belles take on the Scots at noon Saturday at Saint Mary’s soccer field.

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