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SMC Soccer: Belles hungry for revenge over rival

Matt Unger | Thursday, October 6, 2011

Since 2006, Hope has won all eight of its matches against Saint Mary’s, five of which have been decided by one goal.

However, tonight’s game between the conference foes carries added significance for the Belles as the team looks to even its MIAA record at 4-4 and remain within reach of a conference playoff spot.

“If we want to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish to make the playoffs, [this] is a very important game for us,” Belles coach Mike Joyce said. “[If we slip to] 3-5 through the first eight conference games, we’ve left ourselves a lot of work to do.”

Winning tonight’s match will prove to be a test of endurance for both squads as they play the second of three games in five days.

The Belles kicked off the stretch with a 2-1 road win over Trine on Tuesday, led by goals from senior Katelyn Tondo-Steele and junior Ashley Morfin.

“Starting off with a win helps a tough week of games,” Belles’ coach Michael Joyce said.  “Most teams in the conference have the same setup so I suppose it evens out for the most part.”

Hope is expected to offer more of a challenge than Trine, which has only has one win in MIAA play.

The Flying Dutchmen defeated Calvin 3-2 Tuesday, despite being outshot 17-10. Junior goalkeeper Megan Altieri saved seven shots on goal and has saved 73 percent of shots attempted on the season.

“Hope is good this year and is regionally ranked,” Joyce said. “We played very well against them last year and I think we match up well against them.”

The Belles will also have to contain the Flying Dutchmen’s scoring tandem of senior defender Danielle Petzak and freshman forward Nora Kirk. Petzak leads the squad with five goals on the season and has added two assists, while Kirk is second on the team with four goals, including two in the Calvin game.

Following Thursday’s match against Hope, the Belles return to Michigan on Saturday to face Olivet at noon today at 7 p.m.