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SMC Soccer: Belles face Adrian in MIAA matchup

Meaghan Veselik | Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Saint Mary’s (1-1-2 MIAA) hosts the Adrian Bulldogs (2-2-0 MIAA) today at 4 p.m. in the Belles’ fifth conference match this season.

This weekend, the Bulldogs beat conference opponent Olivet 1-0 – a week after the Belles played the Comets to a double-overtime, scoreless draw – but lost to fellow conference foe Hope 3-0.

The Belles earned a draw with the Bulldogs last season.

“They are usually quite physical so we need to be prepared to match or exceed that aspect of their play,” Saint Mary’s coach Caryn MacKenzie said of Adrian. “They have one forward, Lindsey Chitwood, who is quite skillful so defensively we will need to key on her.”

Chitwood has scored 10 of Adrian’s 15 goals this season, on only 21 shots on goal. As a team, the Belles have scored 13 goals this season.

Saint Mary’s has had to overcome many challenges, with returning players suffering injuries and the incorporation of freshmen into an improving lineup.

“I have been very pleased with the strength of our core returners and what they bring to training as well as games,” MacKenzie said. “But, my first year players have really stepped it up and showed tremendous improvements due to all the playing time they have garnered because of injuries.”

Sophomore forward Micki Hedinger is out for the season because of a stress fracture in the hip area, and sophomore midfielder Colleen Ferguson will be back on the field soon after missing the last five weeks.

But the Belles have not let injuries define their season. Whether it has been moving defenders such as Justine Higgins or Bridget Ronayne up top or using freshmen Corissa Hart and Julia Gragtmans’ firepower to try to find the back of the net, Saint Mary’s has been adjusting well this season.

“I think it is a very winnable game, but we will need to put two very solid halves together which we did not do against Hope on Saturday,” MacKenzie said. “We need to step on the field and bring intensity and focus from the opening whistle. It should be a very good test for us. It will be interesting to see how we bounce back from the disappointing result on Saturday.”