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Belles look for fresh start with new coach

Erik Powers | Friday, August 29, 2003

Two things seem to happen to the Saint Mary’s soccer team over the last three seasons. First, the team opens the season with has a new coach. Second, the team improves its MIAA record.

In the past three years, the Belles have had three coaches. After the team went 3-10-1 in 2000, Bobby Johnston coached the team to a 4-10 conference record in 2001. Chris Pfau’s Belles went 5-7-2 in conference in 2002. This year Peter Haring mans the helm for Saint Mary’s. Haring, who boasts a winning club and college pedigree, should build on the Belles’ momentum and bring stability to the team.

Haring makes his regular season debut as coach of the Belles this weekend when the team travels to Marietta College in Ohio to play Marietta and the State University of New York.

On Wednesday, the Belles scrimmaged with Bethel College. Most of the starters played one half in the 2-1 loss. Coach Haring used the game to view his entire squad and make final cuts to his roster. First team all-MIAA member Jen Concannon was encouraged by the team’s energy, yet found it needed to be more relaxed and cohesive over the weekend.

“We definitely need to learn to play together [in the new 3-5-2 defense],” Concannon said. “We’re all excited, nervous, and fresh for the season.”

Some Belles will be less than one hundred percent going into the weekend games. Some players have nagging injuries, yet Concannon does not consider playing back-to-back games a problem.

“We’ve had some pulled quads and shin splints,” Concannon said. “It has mainly been defensive players getting hurt lately. … There will be a lot of wear and tear, but I think we’ll be fine. We have a lot of depth.”

The Belles will rely on sophomore sweeper Carrie Orr to make their new 3-5-2 defense a success. The team played in the 4-4-2 last year, forcing Orr to learn a new position. Orr had a strong freshman year, scoring four goals and ten points.

Concannon believes opening the season with two non-conference games will be a positive experience. She feels that the schedule gives the Belles more time to develop chemistry before the conference schedule starts.

“It’s a little less pressure, but as a team we don’t take any game lightly,” Concannon said.

Saint Mary’s will face the State University of New York at 11 a.m. Saturday and Marietta College at 1 p.m. Sunday.