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SMC Soccer: Belles fall for first time this season

Mike Monaco | Monday, September 24, 2012

The Belles lost their first game of the season as they fell 2-1 to Alma on Saturday afternoon in Alma, Mich.

The teams were tied at one goal each for much of the game, but the Scots (6-1-1, 3-0-1 MIAA) scored off a rebound with just 7:44 remaining in the game to claim the victory.

“I’d say Alma was the best team we have played so far,” senior captain and midfielder Maddie Meckes said. “I think we still played pretty well, we just sort of let up in the last part. We didn’t play a full 90 minutes.”

Saint Mary’s had allowed just two goals total going into Saturday’s matchup with the Scots. Despite the two goals allowed to the Scots, Meckes said the defense played very well overall.

“We have four really great defenders back there,” Meckes said. “They’re really, really solid. [Sophomore goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum] is great. She makes amazing saves time after time. They’ve been great. We can’t fault them for either of the goals. Without them, it’d be a different story in our season thus far.”

Alma got out to a quick lead when freshman forward Kelly Wilson scored on an unassisted goal in the eighth minute. The Belles (4-1-1, 2-1) knotted things up, however, in the 24th minute after freshman midfielder/forward Beth Ruff found junior forward Jordan Diffenderfer, who buried her team-leading third goal of the season.

The goal from Diffenderfer was just the second shot the Belles had in the half. Saint Mary’s outshot Alma 7-1 throughout the rest of the first half.

“I think we played very, very well,” Meckes said. “We were more than competitive. We know we can play with one of the best teams [in Alma]. We’re having the best start to a year since I’ve been here and it shows we can [perform well in the] conference tournament if we stay focused and play with our full effort.”

After the equalizing goal from Diffenderfer, the game was scoreless for roughly the next 60 minutes as both defenses tightened up. Rosenbaum made seven saves in the match behind a back line led by sophomore defenders Mary Kate Hussey and Kerry Green.

But with time winding down, the Scots broke through. After allowing three consecutive corner kicks, the Belles blocked an Alma shot. The rebound found the foot of freshman midfielder/forward Agatha Weddle, who blasted her first collegiate goal into the back of the net.

“They had three corner kicks right in a row,” Meckes said. “[Rosenbaum] hit one out and then a defender hit one out. Every corner is a scramble in the box and it deflected off a player to one of their players and there was nothing [Rosenbaum] could do. There’s nothing we can do – it’s really fast in there. [Belles] coach [Michael Joyce] described it as not being hungry enough but it just happened and it’s nobody’s fault.”

The Scots held on for the win the last 7:44. Despite the loss, Meckes said the Belles are pleased with their performance against a top opponent like Alma.

“It was disappointing to lose but there is a lot to take away from the game,” Meckes said. “Alma is probably one of the best teams in the conference. So it was good to play a good team and see how we match up and know we can play with them and be competitive with one of the top teams.

“The biggest thing we can take from this is to make sure we play a full 90 minutes. They scored in the last eight minutes so we need to make sure we don’t let up at all.”

Saint Mary’s returns home Tuesday to square off with Albion at 4 p.m.

Contact Mike Monaco at [email protected]