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SMC Soccer: Belles welcome new head coach, players

Alex Barker | Friday, August 22, 2008

When Saint Mary’s returns to the field this season, their sideline will feature some new faces.

Ryan Crabbe will take over the reins of the program this season, replacing Caryn MacKenzie as the Belles’ new head coach. Crabbe will become the first full-time soccer coach at Saint Mary’s.

“I think this is a great time for Saint Mary’s soccer,” Crabbe said. “Having a full-time coach means having a full-time resource. It shows an even greater commitment to the student-athletes on behalf of the college.”

Crabbe will have a strong nucleus of 12 veterans and 12 newcomers to work with this season as he attempts to improve on last year’s 7-5-5 record and fifth-place finish in the MIAA.

“My immediate goal will be bringing together our team of returning players and new players. Finding out their strengths and weaknesses and evaluating them as players will be the number one priority heading into the season,” he said. “Long term, my goal for this team is to compete for and win the conference championship and ultimately play for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.”

Before being hired at Saint Mary’s, Crabbe served as the assistant coach at Columbus State University for three seasons. During his tenure with the Cougars, he helped guide them to consecutive Peach Belt tournament championships in 2006 and 2007. In addition to their post-season success, Columbus State won their conference’s regular season title during all three seasons he was there.

Crabbe is looking forward to this opportunity of becoming a first-time head coach.

“In terms of transitioning from assistant to head coach, there is certainly a large increase in responsibility both on and off the field. I am excited about the opportunity because I feel like the experience gained from my last program has prepared me for this chance,” he said.

Saint Mary’s is coming off their fourth winning season in the past five years and will be returning their two top scorers from 2007, Senior forward Lauren Hinton and Junior midfielder Katy Durkin.