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Belles lose first of season

Chris Doyen | Monday, September 10, 2007

Saint Mary’s suffered its first loss of the season Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Hope College.

The Belles broke through first on a goal by junior forward Lauren Hinton in the 37th minute. Freshman midfielder Julia Gragtmans assisted on Hinton’s third goal of the season.

“We started a little bit sluggish,” Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “But we worked our way through that and started creating good chances and doing some fun stuff.”

The lead was short-lived. Less than one minute later, junior forward Suzi Knowles assisted on a goal by senior forward Julia Fischer. The goal came off of one of Hope’s seven corner kicks in the match.

The game remained tied until the 50th minute when Hope struck on a goal by Sonya Masghati, assisted by Emily Cook. Hope grabbed the momentum and never looked back.

“When they got that second goal, it took the wind out of our sails,” MacKenzie said. “It wasn’t that we quit, but we felt that if we’d gotten a break and scored that second goal, the outcome of the game could have been a lot different.”

Hope senior Ellie Tresslar added an insurance goal in the 86th minute on an assist by Masghati.

Despite the 3-1 score, MacKenzie was pleased with the overall performance against an organized and well-coached Hope squad.

“The score doesn’t reflect how competitive the game was,” MacKenzie said. “It was a really well-played game by both teams. We were disappointed that we lost, but we did a lot of very good things.”

While the Belles were disappointed by the loss, MacKenzie is well aware of some of the benefits that can come from an early non-conference defeat.

“It’s good to lose early,” said MacKenzie. “You learn a lot more about yourself when you lose, and it gives us the opportunity to prepare for our conference matchups later in the year.”

The Belles will be back in action Wednesday at Saint Mary’s when they host Calvin, the 2006 MIAA champions.

The Belles record now stands at 3-1, while Hope improved to 2-2.