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10 wins in reach for Belles

Ryan Duffy | Tuesday, November 2, 2004

With a roller-coaster season full of ups and downs already behind them, the Belles will look to end their year on a high note when they head back to the road for today’s match-up against Tri-State University.Saint Mary’s enters the game with a record of 9-6-1 and hopes for a 10-win season, while Tri-State has had a much more difficult season, going 2-14-1, including 0-13-1 in conference play.”I’m hoping we can get a lot of players on the field for our last game of the season,” coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “Our track record on the road hasn’t been great this year, but I still feel good about being able to get a lot of people in for our game against Tri-State.”Saint Mary’s emerged victorious in the first meeting between the teams this year, an 8-1 victory that included two goals by both Carrie Orr and Ashley Hinton. Though the Belles enjoyed home-field advantage in that game, they will be on the road today against Tri-State, where the Belles have lost their last five straight. “It’s been difficult playing on the road this year,” MacKenzie said. “Four out of those five road losses, we gave up a penalty kick and only lost by one goal. It happened so frequently that it can be frustrating. Winning on the road has been difficult because of things like that, where we can’t control what happens.”In the end, the inability of the Belles to earn victories on the road was the key factor in not being able to capture a MIAA title, especially considering their 7-1 record at home.”We had our chances sometimes, and I guess maybe we didn’t display enough mental toughness to overcome those obstacles on the road. No matter what our record, we played hard on the road and very rarely did we get outplayed,” MacKenzie said. “Half of our losses were times when little things going differently could have meant wins. I’m disappointed to not be in the hunt for the MIAA title, but we’ll use it as motivation for next year.”Looking to next year is one of the few things the Belles can do at this point with their hopes for the playoffs already gone.”As a team, we feel like we didn’t accomplish what we set out to accomplish. Hopefully with the returning players, there will be a strong motivation and desire to work hard in the off-season,” MacKenzie said. “The seven seniors leaving the program set a pretty high standard with their play and work ethic. They have definitely raised the level of play to a higher caliber for our program.”Entering into a soccer program that consistently finished near the bottom of the MIAA, the current seniors have been the core of a team that has slowly brought the Saint Mary’s program to prominence. “As a coaching staff, I feel we were very fortunate we got the senior class to start our tenure here at Saint Mary’s,” MacKenzie said. “They are one of the best senior classes ever to play here, in terms of talent, leadership skills and love of the game. They love the program and their teammates, and it comes through every day.”