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SMC Soccer: Belles prepare for home opener against Manchester

Chris Doyen | Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Belles got off to a hot start in the season-opening Case Western Invitational last weekend, notching victories over Case Western Reserve and Lawrence University. The team now looks to build even more momentum before its conference schedule kicks off Sept. 22. Saint Mary’s hosts Manchester this afternoon in the first of five games before the onset of league play. The team hopes to develop a sense of chemistry before taking on its MIAA foes. “These first three weeks are spent making sure we’ve got everyone where we want them,” Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “It provides an opportunity for players to challenge for roles or to work hard to keep the spots they had last year if they’re returning players. We have a good group of returning players and also some newcomers that should be able to contribute right away.”Manchester is 1-1 after losing to Oberlin College and defeating Tri-State University last weekend. In Sunday’s victory over Tri-State, the Spartans scored seven goals on 25 shots on goal. Sophomore forward Paige Koomler scored four goals in the contest, but MacKenzie said her team does not plan to adjust its defensive strategy – at least not yet.”Any time someone can score four goals in a game, you’re going to want to pay attention,” MacKenzie said. “But we’re just going to play team defense the way that we have shown we can. If we need to change anything, we’ll sort that out as we go along.”The match will be the Belles’ home opener, and MacKenzie said she looks forward to the comfortable atmosphere.”We’re definitely looking forward to playing on our field,” MacKenzie said. “It will be nice not to have to get on a bus, and the players will be totally ecstatic to play in front of some friendly faces. The preseason can kind of drag on, so it’s good to finally be in game mode and to be playing at home.”