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SMC Soccer: Belles top the Comets, stay undefeated on the season

Matt Unger | Thursday, September 15, 2011

Powered by junior midfielder Maddie Meckes’ two goals, Saint Mary’s defeated Olivet 3-0 in an early season MIAA grudge match.

The match was the conference opener for both teams and the Belles (5-0, 1-0) dominated the Comets (0-5, 0-1) throughout the rain-splashed contest.

“The rain always makes the game a little more sloppy,” Belles coach Michael Joyce said. “[It creates] more turnovers and more loose balls, so we weren’t as technically proficient as we’d like to be.”

The game remained scoreless throughout most of the first half despite the Belles controlling the ball and playing pressure defense. Saint Mary’s broke through with about 11 minutes remaining in the half, when sophomore midfielder Mollie Valencia found sophomore forward Jordan Diffenderfer open over the middle of the Comets’ defense for a goal.

The Belles then increased their lead to 2-0 with less than a minute left in the half to effectively take control of the game. Meckes drilled the first of her two goals into the net from 25 yards out.

“Anything can happen the longer the game stays close, and the two goals late in the half sunk the other team,” Joyce said.

Meckes added her second goal of the game and third of the season with 12 minutes remaining when her shot inside the goal box deflected off a Comets defender into the goal.

Meanwhile, defensively, the Belles limited the Olivet’s scoring opportunities, holding them to a meager seven shots and only one corner kick. Belles freshman goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum turned away all three Comets shots on goal to post her first career shutout.

Through five games, the Belles have remained stingy on defense, surrendering only one goal.

“Our defense is the real strength of this team,” Joyce said. “The rest of the players can play with a lot of confidence knowing that even if they make a mistake, the defense can lock it down.”

After dispatching the winless Comets, the Belles will face a tougher test Saturday in a road game against conference foe Adrian. The Bulldogs (3-2, 1-0) won their conference opener against Alma.

Despite the dominating win, Joyce said the Belles will have a tough test against the Bulldogs.

“It was a good way to start the conference [schedule], but Saturday will be a big test,” Joyce said. “Adrian is a very good team, so we’ll see what we’re made out of on Saturday.”