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SMC Soccer: Saint Mary’s to face key MIAA opponent

Joe Meixell | Friday, October 6, 2006

Saint Mary’s will look to get back on track Saturday when it travels to Michigan to take on Olivet College.

The Belles are recovering from their first conference loss this season, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Albion Britons.

Albion’s Brittany Cortese scored twice in the game, including burying a rebound late in the second half to give the Britons the lead for good. Saint Mary’s was able to produce plenty of opportunities in the last few minutes but could not overcome a sloppy first half of play.

“I don’t really know what to blame it on, but for whatever reason we were not ready to go in the first half,” head coach Caryn Mackenzie said following the loss.

The team’s lone goal came early in the second half when Ashley Hinton took advantage of a penalty kick to net her third goal of the season.

Olivet also struggled to produce any offense Tuesday when it battled Kalamazoo to a 0-0 tie. Comets goalkeeper Kellie O’ Dowd turned in a solid performance with seven saves on the day. O’Dowd has allowed just five goals in her four starts this season.

“We just need to be more aggressive, especially with balls in the air,” senior Colleen Courtney said. “We are going to try to get more shots on net, hopefully long shots.”

Leading the way on offense for the Comets this year has been forward Cori Barrea. The sophomore leads the team in points with six goals and an assist. She has already doubled her production of three goals from her rookie season in 2005.

Barrea scored both goals for Olivet in a recent comeback to tie Albion 2-2 and maintain its unbeaten record in the MIAA. The team has one win and two ties in conference play so far, which puts it just behind Saint Mary’s in fourth place. With a win Saturday, the Comets would take possession of third place away from the Belles.

In order to keep its spot in the rankings intact, Saint Mary’s hopes to get its offense clicking again. Sisters Ashley and Lauren Hinton have provided most of the production so far this year, with 10 of the team’s 12 goals. Colleen Ferguson and Caroline Stancukas round out the scoring for the Belles with one goal apiece.

Stancukas has stepped up her play in her senior season, consistently producing chances from the wing.

“Stancukas works really hard out there – she was one of the few positives in the [Albion] game,” Mackenzie said.