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SMC Soccer: Belles attempt to end slump against Trine

Alex Barker | Wednesday, October 15, 2008

As the final few games of the regular season approach, Saint Mary’s is still searching for its first MIAA conference win. The Belles (1-9-1 overall, 0-4 MIAA) will get a promising opportunity to end the drought when they face Trine (3-11, 0-4) today at 4 p.m.

Despite the team’s disappointing record so far this season, Belles coach Ryan Crabbe said he still sees a determined effort and unwillingness to back down from his young team.

“One thing I have been most proud of with this team this season is the fact that they continue to show up every day and work hard to get better,” he said. “Even with the frustration of our lack of results on the field in terms of wins, these players continue to compete every time they are out on the field.”

The Belles are currently on a six-game losing streak, including last weekend’s 4-0 home loss to No. 8 Calvin.

“I want to give a lot of credit to Calvin on the game Saturday,” Crabbe said. “They are certainly a very good team and it showed in their play why they are one of the top teams in the country.”

Part of the Belles’ recent struggles can be attributed to mistakes early in matches.

“We have struggled with slow starts to games in particular lately,” Crabbe said. “Against both Adrian and Calvin, we gave up goals within the first five minutes of the game. Especially with a team like Calvin, we cannot allow ourselves to make their job any easier. Our biggest struggles have come from creating quality scoring opportunities. Being behind early in games is certainly not helping that.”

Crabbe has made several midseason changes to the lineup that he said will help correct some of the problems that have plagued the Belles all season.

“We have looked at some changes in our lineup recently to try and better utilize some personnel,” he said. “I think working through some of these changes will hopefully spark us on the field. We gave some of these changes a look in the Calvin game and I was encouraged by what I saw.”

Looking ahead to Trine and the remaining matches on the schedule, Crabbe said he is optimistic that his team will finish the season on a positive note.

“I believe we have four very winnable games remaining on our schedule,” he said. “I would like to see the team generate and finish more opportunities on goal. That being said, we need to limit our mistakes and not allow teams to take an early advantage in games.”