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Belles soccer maintain unbeaten streak, tie Calvin 2-2 in OT

Erik Powers | Thursday, September 11, 2003

Saint Mary’s continued its season-opening unbeaten streak Tuesday. The Belles (3-0-1) tied Calvin (0-2-1) 2-2 in an overtime conference opener.

Calvin scored first with 37:00 left in the first half. A forward stole the ball from a Belles midfielder and kicked it past surprised Saint Mary’s goalie Laura Heline. Saint Mary’s was attempting to clear the ball and Calvin caught the defense in an awkward position.

“The first goal was just poor communication on a poorly-played ball,” coach Peter Haring said. “Our defense was caught because they were so congested. The center-mid got her pocket picked, and our keeper was caught off guard.”

Saint Mary’s played listlessly for the first ten minutes of the half. The Belles mounted only a pair of offensive attacks and Calvin besieged Heline at the goal. But with 30:00 left in the half, Saint Mary’s offensive intensity improved. The Belles narrowly missed goals off of a pair of corner kicks before Shannon Artnak tied the game at the 25:51 mark. Jen Concannon bounced a kick off of the crossbar which Artnak headed for a rebound goal. Artnak has one goal and two assists on the season.

“You can’t play behind all the time, and this is actually the first game where our opponent has scored against us first,” Haring said. “I give the team a lot of credit. That first half we came back and put a goal in. We don’t lose our composure once we get into a rhythm.”

Calvin launched an aggressive attack in the second half. Within the first two minutes, a Calvin forward barely missed on a breakaway with Heline making a difficult save. With 37:12 remaining, the Belles midfielders and defenders converged on two Calvin forwards in the box outside the Saint Mary’s goal. Each of the Belles waited for a teammate to clear the ball, and when that did not occur, Calvin kicked the ball past a screened Heline.

But the Belles once again were resilient. Saint Mary’s found its rhythm and resumed a dominating attack on Calvin’s goal. Calvin blocked several kicks at close range off of corner kicks but was unable to stop Carrie Orr’s 20-yard kick with 19:41 remaining. Orr stopped a long rebound and sent a high, arching kick with her left foot that somehow snuck between the goalie and the crossbar.

Saint Mary’s controlled the momentum for the rest of the half and overtime. The Belles limited Calvin to only three serious scoring threats from the 20:00 mark on.

“Defensively, that team was fast and tried to play over the top,” Haring said. “But our team won the balls in the air and we didn’t give them any really good scoring opportunities. Shannon Culbertson, Carrie Orr and Katie Taylor play so well together. They’re a very strong core group of defenders.”

Taylor stood out with her physical style of play by upending a Calvin forward with a combination shoulder tackle and head butt.

“Katie Taylor comes from her own mold,” Haring said. “Her sister Lynn was a center/defender last year and basically the foundation of the team. Katie plays just as hard, if not harder and she wins every ball. She won’t be denied.”

Though the Belles were disappointed by the scoreless overtime and tie, they remained positive.

“I’m not disappointed with the way we played at all,” Haring said. “In fact I’m happy because we learned how to play back from being down. I’m not a big fan of ties; in fact I almost would rather go to a [penalty kick] situation just to have a final result. But that’s the [conference’s] format.”

Saint Mary’s plays at noon Wednesday at home versus Adrian.