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SMC Soccer: Coach says Belles primed to exceed past success

Matt Stewart | Friday, August 31, 2012

Saint Mary’s will begin its season tonight against nearby rival Bethel College. Following their first 10-win season in six years, the Belles have high expectations heading into the 2012 campaign.

Belles coach Mike Joyce stressed the team hopes to raise the bar even higher this year.

“We’re hoping to improve upon last year,” Joyce said. “We finished sixth in our conference and would like to move higher.  All the teams we are chasing are very good.”

Joyce emphasized the team’s goal of making the MIAA playoffs. To do so, the team must place in the top four in their conference, and with 18 returning players, Joyce’s squad has all the talent to reach their goal.

Seniors midfielder Ashley Morfin, defender Meaghan Daly, and midfielder and team captain Maddie Meckes will lead the Belles on the pitch this season as they try to surpass last season’s success.

Joyce noted the team’s leadership does not end with the seniors.

“All of the returning players show a lot of leadership in various ways,” Joyce said. “They all put a lot of time and effort into the team, have good attitudes and go about things the right way.  It is nice that you aren’t relying on one person to guide the other 29, but have a collection of people all on the same page.”

With few practices prior to their first game tonight, the team will need that cohesiveness as the season begins. The team only had four days of practice before school started, so it was essential to make every practice count.

As season play begins tonight, those practices will be key to the team’s success. Joyce said the practices before school were short but effective.

“We haven’t made too many changes with what we do,” Joyce said. “We’re just trying to get as much done as we can in a small window of time.”

The Belles’ journey to the playoffs begins at home tonight against Bethel at 5 p.m. Saint Mary’s will conclude its opening weekend with a Sunday trip to Illinois Tech, with kickoff at 11 a.m.

Contact Matt Stewart at [email protected]