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SMC SOCCER: Tri-State wants to trap Saint Mary’s

Kyle Cassily | Friday, October 28, 2005

Two games remain – two games in which to secure their place in the record books.

The Belles are just a pair of wins away from the never-before-reached plateau of 10 conference wins and a third-place finish at season’s end. Despite a close 1-0 win over Adrian Wednesday, the team and its second-year coach feel they have the right stuff to accomplish the task.

“I think we understand what is expected, in terms of finishing out our last few games,” Saint Mary’s coach Caryn Mackenzie said. “It is just a matter of us mentally locking in on that.”

The first of the remaining games begins at noon Saturday when the Belles travel to take on the Tri-State Thunder. The Thunder have struggled thus far, earning no wins in conference play and three wins overall. They have only managed to find the back of the net on eight occasions, while surrendering 72 goals.

But Tri-State has experienced a resurgence of sorts in their last few contests. The Thunder defeated non-conference opponent Anderson 3-0 and followed it up with a near win against Kalamazoo, falling 3-2.

Kalamazoo quickly got up 3-0, but Tri-State fought back with two unanswered goals. However, time ran out before the Thunder could complete the comeback.

But Kalamazoo is no pushover. The Belles lost to Kalamazoo 1-0 in an early season contest; a result that the Saint Mary’s players felt should have turned out differently.

That game was not the only one that the Belles felt should have finished with a more favorable outcome.

In their last game the Belles avoided defeat with a narrow 1-0 margin of victory over a weak Adrian team. Mackenzie attributed the close final score to the fact that her team played down to its opponent’s level.

“I hope that we bring a little more energy than what we demonstrated [against Adrian],” Mackenzie said. “We have not played two games back to back with low energy. We were coming off of an emotional downer to Calvin game [a 1-0 loss], and we knew Adrian wasn’t going to push us hard.”

When the Belles and Thunder met for the first time this year, on Saint Mary’s field, the Belles walked off with a 9-1 defeat in hand. But that has not led Mackenzie and her team to underestimate their opponent.

They will continue to play the high-energy, nonstop style that they have produced solid results with all year. Mackenzie hopes to see her team be the squad that challenged top-ranked Calvin and won eight conference games on Saturday.

“Hopefully the other Saint Mary’s team shows up,” she said.