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SMC Soccer: Depleted squad looks to stay hot

Meghan Veselik | Friday, September 28, 2007

Saint Mary’s plays its third MIAA match Saturday against Olivet, a team the Belles defeated 3-2 last season.

Saint Mary’s has played well in its first two conference matchups, beating Kalamazoo in the last 10 minutes of play Saturday, and tying traditional foe Albion 1-1 Tuesday after two overtimes. Without junior forward Lauren Hinton and sophomore forward Micki Hedinger, coach Caryn MacKenzie has had to make some adjustments.

Also, the Belles will be without senior defenseman Justine Higgins Saturday. Higgins received two yellow cards in Tuesday’s match against Albion and received an automatic one-game suspension.

Tuesday’s play against Albion was “sluggish” in a constantly moving game, Mackenzie said. The Belles have also been struggling to convert in front of the goal, as leading scorer Hinton has been sidelined because of an injury.

But the Belles have found other players who can score, including sophomore defenseman Bridget Ronayne and Higgins – both of whom scored last Saturday – and sophomore midfielder Katie Wehrli.

The Belles are No. 2 in the MIAA, and the Comets are No. 9. The two teams may have the same number of overall wins, but Olivet has lost their two conference games to Albion and Kalamazoo – teams Saint Mary’s has tied or defeated.

If the Belles can stay flexible and adapt with their personnel, their positive streak could continue beyond Saturday’s match.