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SMC Soccer: Belles open conference season against Calvin

Joseph Wirth | Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Belles open up MIAA conference play Wednesday afternoon on the road against No. 15 Calvin College.

Saint Mary’s (2-8) secured its second win on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Franklin. It was the Belles’ second straight home shutout but will face a challenge in taking on Calvin. The Knights come into the game with a 7-1-1 record and are the defending MIAA champions. Belles coach Michael Joyce said he knows his team will face a strenuous test on Wednesday.

“Calvin is a top-25 team, so that is a challenging conference opener,” Joyce said. “We’re going to have to work hard no matter who we play in our conference, so we’ve got to go out each game and look for points with either a win or a tie.”

Led by freshman goalkeeper Ashton Hearn, the Knights have only given up one goal this season. Saint Mary’s has given up 27. Calvin’s starting freshman Brittany Hieftje leads the Knights in goals and points.

Joyce said he understands the challenge that is ahead of the team against Calvin and the entire MIAA, but he said believes that his team has the potential to sneak up on a few opponents within the league.

“We’ll have to be at our best against Calvin and a few bounces our way won’t hurt either,” Joyce said. “I think we’re good enough to surprise one or two teams in our conference.”

The Belles will kick off their conference season against the Knights today at 4 p.m. at Calvin’s Zuidema Field.