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SMC Soccer

Belles win one, lose one over weekend at home

| Monday, September 1, 2014

Saint Mary’s opened its season this weekend with mixed results, dropping its first game, 3-1, to Bethel on Friday but rebounding Sunday to pull out a 2-1 victory against Mount St. Joseph in extra time.

The Belles (1-1) started off strong against Bethel (1-1), creating a few early shots and offensive pressure. In the 12th minute, as the Pilots knocked the ball around in their backfield, Belles senior midfielder Erin Mishu blocked an attempted clearance by Bethel junior goalkeeper Mallory Conrad. The deflection went straight into the back of the net, giving Saint Mary’s an early 1-0 lead.

The momentum would not last, however, as 10 minutes later, sophomore midfielder Diana Diaz-Diurych netted a 30-yard free kick for the Pilots to knot the game at 1-1.

The Belles had plenty of chances throughout the game, outshooting Bethel 16-8 and knocking a couple shots off the goal frame, but the team struggled to capitalize on opportunities.

“We created a ton of chances but were missing that final quality with our finishing touch,” Belles coach Michael Joyce said.

Bethel, on the other hand, was able to convert its few opportunities into goals, scoring in the 62nd and 75th minute to take a 3-1 lead that would last for the rest of the match. The Pilots scored three goals on just four shot attempts, and Conrad anchored them in net with seven saves.

“We were a little sloppy against Bethel on Friday and pounded the ball forward too fast,” Joyce said. “We usually like to possess the ball more.”

However, Joyce said he was happy with how the Belles were able to turn that around and control possession when they took the field Sunday against Mount St. Joseph (0-2).

Again, Saint Mary’s struggled to find the back of the net despite a flurry of shot attempts throughout the game.

The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute off a shot by freshman defender Brenna Lonneman from a free kick sent into the box.

“We’ve given up two goals on free kicks, so we’ll have to mark better defending those [moving forward],” Joyce said.

In the second half, Saint Mary’s tied the game at one after senior defender Mary Kate Hussey netted a rebound off a corner kick.

Despite taking 21 shots in regulation, the Belles were not able to put in any more goals, and the game moved into overtime.

Just over three minutes into the sudden death period, however, junior midfielder Maggie McLaughlin struck for Saint Mary’s, beating two defenders before touching it past the goalkeeper and finishing on an open net to give the Belles a 2-1 victory.

“Goal scoring can be as much mental as it is physical, so it was a relief to get the goal in overtime after some missed chances,” Joyce said. “Hopefully, that starts giving us some confidence and mental edge to keep it going.”

Saint Mary’s will play its next game Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. against Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington, Ill.

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