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SMC Belles Soccer: Comets to face Belles after layoff

Joe Meixell | Friday, September 26, 2008

Saint Mary’s will return to the field for the first time in 10 days on Saturday when it takes on the Comets of Olivet College.

During the long layoff, the team has tried to keep a competitive edge.

“Due to the long lay off since our Hope match, our training sessions have been a bit shorter in length,” Coach Ryan Crabbe said. “Rather than bum the kids out, we have used this time to do some teaching and mix in some competitive activities as well. It is really tough because it almost feels like going through pre-season all over again.”

In their last match nearly two weeks ago, Saint Mary’s lost a heartbreaker to Hope College, whose two goals in the final seven minutes lifted the Flying Dutch to a 2-1 win over the Belles. Despite the loss, the Belles are eager to return to the field for their first conference match of the year against Olivet.

“One of the easiest ways to get over a tough loss sometimes is to turn around and play another match,” Coach Crabbe said. “The players have responded quite well.”

Entering the match, Coach Crabbe expects to have a full, healthy roster for the first time this season.

“We have actually gotten very healthy,” the coach said. “For the first time all year, our full roster is training and healthy. This has allowed me to really look at players and develop our depth.”

Entering this weekend’s contest, the Belles know that the stakes have been raised as they begin conference play.

“This weekend we open conference play and really need to get out and get a positive result,” Coach Crabbe said. “The players know every match has added meaning from here on out.”

In Olivet, the Belles face a team that they should match up with very well. When the two teams met last season, the match ended in a scoreless tie. The previous season, the Belles beat Olivet 3-2.

Saint Mary’s enters the match with a record of 1-4-1, including a championship in the Sal Vacarro tournament at North Central College. Meanwhile, the Comets enter the match with a 4-4-1 record on the season. This is the first conference match of the season for both squads. Play begins Saturday at Olivet at noon.