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SMC Soccer: Belles prepare to take on Wilmington, Hiram

Katelyn Grabarek | Friday, September 18, 2009

The Belles fell to No. 7 Indiana Wesleyan Wednesday by a final score of 5-0, and will travel to Ohio to play No. 21 Wilmington and Hiram this weekend.

“I have been very pleased with the growth of our players over the first few games,” Belles coach Ryan Crabbe said. “We have played some outstanding competition so far. While it has been tough to come by positive results in the win column, the players are learning that nothing is going to come easily and we have to continue to work hard and concentrate every minute on the field.”

Indiana Wesleyan notched four goals in the first half of their game and added a fifth in the second half to secure the win over Saint Mary’s (2-4).

Indiana Wesleyan is only adding to the list of talented schools Saint Mary’s has played early this season, and despite their losing record Crabbe and his team know they are playing well.

“Our players recognize the level of the teams we have been playing and they have shown a great willingness to meet the challenge,” Crabbe said. “No one is going to improve or feel rewarded by playing lesser competition game in and game out. From my observations of our players the team morale has been fantastic from day one.”

Wilmington will be up first for the Belles Friday.

Crabbe had the opportunity to see Wilmington play twice last weekend and was really impressed by their style of play. He noted that they are extremely organized and play hard, and how well they sustained their effort throughout the tournament.

In the second game of the weekend the Belles will face off with Hiram College, who beat the Belles 3-1 last year.

“We played Hiram in 2008 and I feel it was a game we should have come away with a better result,” Crabbe said. “They are a solid team and I think we will match up pretty well with them,” Crabbe said. “Certainly traveling and playing away from home increases the challenge we face this weekend.”

Hiram (4-1-1) is coming off a win over Baldwin Wallace College. Much like Saint Mary’s they are looking to rebound from a less than stellar 2008 campaign with many returning veterans.

The Belles will also be looking to work out some problem areas before they head into their MIAA portion of their schedule beginning Sept. 30 at Adrian.

“Defining the roles of players is becoming clearer as we continue to get closer to the conference portion of our schedule,” Crabbe said. “Also, by playing against such strong teams we are getting a more clear understanding of how to matchup in certain situations, how to read the game, and becoming more disciplined with sticking to a game plan.”

After they take on Wilmington and Hiram the Belles will host the Saint Mary’s College Fall Classic on Sept. 25 and 26.