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SMC Soccer: Belles prepare to face Albion without Hinton

Meaghan Veselik | Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Belles head into their second conference game at 4 p.m today against Albion, a team they lost to twice last season during regular season play.

A year ago, the Britons finished third place in the MIAA and Saint Mary’s was third. This season, Saint Mary’s holds an overall record of 5-1-2, while Albion stands at 7-1-1. Each squad has a conference record of 1-0 and will look to remain undefeated in league play.

“It should be a great match,” Belles coach Caryn MacKenzie said. “They have a lot of talent, and we’re looking forward to playing them.”

But the Belles will be forced to play without their leading scorer, injured junior forward Lauren Hinton.

“I have a lot of confidence in our team, and I am feeling good about our chances even minus [Hinton],” MacKenzie said. “But we’re going to put our game face on and try to get a win out on our home field.”

The Belles are coming off of a victory against Kalamazoo last Saturday, which they won in the last 13 minutes of play with back-to-back goals by sophomore defender Bridget Ronayne and senior midfielder Justine Higgins. Ronayne and Higgins were named MIAA players of the week in the defensive and offensive divisions, respectively.

The Belles dropped both of their matches to Albion last season and face a tough task again this year.

Hinton won’t be on the field due to a rolled ankle she sustained in Saturday’s game, in addition to previous injuries from earlier in the season. Belles sophomore forward Micki Hedinger, who has been struggling with a hip injury, will also miss today’s contest.

“We have some versatile talent, which you have to do with injury,” MacKenzie said. “Justine [Higgins} worked up top real well, Amy Mahoney back in the goal for us has been stellar, and we’ve had a great start to our season. We’re just going to have to respond and do the best we can.”

Saint Mary’s has already shown some flexibility this season, shifting defenders in efforts to keep the ball moving forward.

“We have a completely different chemistry and approach on the team this year; we’re definitely a cohesive team,” MacKenzie said. “They definitely have been fun to coach and to watch them play.”

The Belles will look to score early and improve communication among the defense – two tactics they did not utilize against Kalamazoo.