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SMC Soccer” Belles look to rebound against Hope after loss to Kalamazoo

Kyle Cassily | Friday, October 7, 2005

The year’s mantra of staying positive and just finding a way to get into the back of the net exuded by Belles soccer coach Caryn Mackenzie faces its toughest challenge of the year this weekend.

The Belles will host rival Hope College on their home pitch, one game after a tough 1-0 loss to Kalamazoo College on Tuesday. This is the second meeting of Saint Mary’s and Hope on the year, the last battle resulting in a 2-0 Flying Dutch victory.

Hope currently holds second-place in MIAA standings with a 7-1 mark, and the Belles reside a spot below in third, holding a 5-3 conference standing. Immediately below Saint Mary’s lurk Albion and Kalamazoo, each with a 4-3 record, which seek to upend the Belles in the remaining game each has with the Saint Mary’s women.

“I have confidence in our talent,” Mackenzie said. “It’s only a matter of us believing in ourselves and playing hard for the whole 90 minutes.”

Hope’s Linnae Klompmaker and Sarah Cochrane scored the two goals that propelled the Flying Dutch over the Belles in the early season game. Cochrane and Klompmaker are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in goals thus far for Hope, and will provide a talented threat to a battle-hardened Belles’ defense.

The Flying Dutch provide other challenges on the opposite end of the field. Defender Ashleigh McNeil was voted the MIAA defensive player of the week for the previous week, after back-boning a 3-0 shutout of Adrian College.

The last time these two rivals met, Saint Mary’s goalkeeper Laura Heline made five key stops while her peer in the opposing goal, Holly Nestle, turned away 10 shots.

Hope’s only loss this year has come at the hands of another Belles’ rival, Calvin College. The undefeated Calvin strikers knocked off Hope 2-0. The loss was Hope’s first on their home-field since 2001, posting a 24-0-1 record during the win streak.

“Every game we have played, we have seen some really good stuff,” midfielder Carrie Orr said. “We have played some of the best teams around. We know that and we think we can play with anyone.”

The game will mark the turning point in the season. The Belles have now faced every MIAA opponent and will see them all once again before the season ends.

The rivals will play at noon tomorrow at Saint Mary’s, the Belles’ last home game before fall break.