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Win over Hope key for Belles

Joe Hettler | Friday, October 17, 2003

A golden opportunity awaits the Saint Mary’s soccer team this weekend.Standing in a tie for second-place with 12 points in the MIAA, the Belles have a chance to cut conference leader Hope’s advantage when the two teams face off Saturday at Saint Mary’s.”We put everything in our own hands for the outcome of the season,” coach Peter Haring said. The Flying Dutch and Belles met earlier in the season, with Hope winning in overtime 1-0. Haring said the Belles played well in that game, but got into a vulnerable position that allowed for Hope’s game-winning goal. He said the teams match up very well for this game.”It’s a great match-up of how we defend and they control the ball,” Haring said.Saint Mary’s will be without two key players for the game. Striker Wendy Irvin injured her ankle against Adrian last week and is out indefinitely, according to Haring. She did not break the bone but could have ligament damage that would keep her out for possibly the remainder of the season.Defender Shannon Culbertson will also miss the game because of a red card last game. Haring said the penalty was uncalled for and inappropriate for what Culbertson did. Either way, the team will look for other players to cover for the losses of those two players.”You deal with the cards you’re dealt. We’re going to be asking some freshmen and other players to step up,” Haring said. “They are going to get quality minutes in a very important game.”The game could have a major effect on the outcome of the MIAA this season. A win and Hope moves nearly out of reach of Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s has six conference matches left and would be behind Hope by six points. Teams receive two points for a win, one point for a tie and zero points for a loss. If the Belles do lose to Hope, it will also give the Flying Dutch the tie-breaker even if the Belles make a run.