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SMC Soccer: Previously winless Belles run table to win tournament

Mike Gotimer | Monday, September 15, 2008

Saint Mary’s entered this weekend’s Sal Vaccaro Tournament at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., without a win.

The Belles (1-3-1) left as tournament champions after a 2-0 victory over Mount Mercy College Saturday and a 1-1 (4-3) shootout thriller over host North Central Sunday to take home the title.

The Belles got on the board first Saturday when senior co-captain Lauren Hinton found the back of the net in the 24th minute. Freshman Julie Hamilton increased the Saint Mary’s lead to 2-0 goal 10 minutes into the second half.

Junior goalkeeper Patty Duffy played the entire game, and her two saves helped earn Saint Mary’s its first win of the season. The win was the coach Ryan Crabbe’s first win as the Belles coach.

And the win put Saint Mary’s in the title game of the tournament for the second consecutive year.

The Belles scored first in the rainy game against the host Cardinals on a free kick as junior co-captain Bridget Ronayne scored her first goal of the season. Saint Mary’s took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but North Central tied the game 1-1 on a free kick of their own in the 65th minute.

For a moment, it appeared as if the Belles would take a 2-1 lead in the second half, but what would have been the game-winning goal was disallowed.

The 1-1 tie forced overtime, and neither team got a shot off in the first overtime. In the second overtime and the shootout, Duffy took over and recorded three of her seven saves in the two periods.

With a 4-3 lead, Duffy made a save on North Central’s final shot of the shootout that clinched the Belles’ second consecutive tournament title.

The Belles return to the field for their home opener on Wednesday against Hope College in a non-conference matchup.