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Saint Mary’s one win from record season

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Senior Carrie Orr will finish her collegiate soccer career tonight in the season finale against Kalamazoo, and she could not envision ending it with a more cohesive, hard-working team around her.

“I couldn’t be any more proud to play with these girls or be any more happy to finish it out with these girls,” Orr said. “They’ve really made it fun for me and I hope they can carry on this tradition. If we play like we know we can tomorrow, we will win.”

The Belles go into the game holding a 9-5-1 MIAA conference record and a firm grip on third place. Never in Saint Mary’s soccer history has a team finished the year with 10 league wins or in third-place.

And a win at Kalamazoo would bring those accolades home and clear open a spot in the record books for the Belles.

“We want it bad,” Orr said. “In practice today, everybody was just so sharp, and so focused. We know what this means – that finishing the season the most highly-ranked Saint Mary’s has ever been is huge for the team and huge for the school.”

Kalamazoo has the potential to be a thorn in the Belles’ side, however. The last time the two teams faced, Kalamazoo took a 1-0 decision on Saint Mary’s home turf.

The Belles felt they came out flat in the contest, a result of two easy home wins against Tri-State and Adrian just prior to the game.

“We just have to want it more, that’s what it comes down to,” Orr said of what her team needs to do to win. “They’re an aggressive team, the last time we played them they were pretty nasty. They like to play dirty. We have to play aggressive and win every ball, be the first to it, be the dominators.”

The Belles are led by second-year coach Caryn Mackenzie, the first Saint Mary’s soccer coach to return for a second season in over five years. Mackenzie has been all business in driving the Belles into the upper strata of the MIAA conference and the players have reacted well to her disciplined approach.

“Coach has done just a really good job of keeping us in line and trying to make the team fit the best way it could,” Orr said. “She’s done a good job of adjusting to our opponents. She knows the game and she wants to win. She’s good for Saint Mary’s.”

Orr will reflect on her four-year career with fellow seniors Shannon Culbertson and Maura Schoen. The three have combined for an 18-11-2 record under Mackenzie’s tenure.

“This season as a whole is honestly the best season of my four years because we just gelled so well,” Orr said. “The personalities and attitudes are just so compliant. We all get along really well. We worked hard and here we are almost in third place. And if we win tomorrow it will just be icing on the cake.”