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SMC Soccer: Belles fall to Scots in MIAA matchup

Mike Monaco | Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Belles gave up two quick goals in the first four minutes of action Tuesday against Alma and ended up losing to the Scots (11-5-2, 8-4-2 MIAA) 2-0 in a pivotal conference clash.

“This definitely was a tough loss,” Saint Mary’s sophomore goalkeeper Chanler Rosenbaum said. “We are all upset and bitter because we know we could have won that game. This game might have pushed us up a bit in the standings, but it won’t change our mindset for the rest of the games. We are going to carry these feelings into these next games to help us get the wins we need.”

Alma sophomore forward Mackenzie Smith found the back of the net just 54 seconds into the game with an unassisted goal. Smith, who leads the Scots with 11 goals this season, doubled her money at the 3:21 mark when she headed home a cross inside the penalty area from junior midfielder/forward Taryn Handyside. Rosenbaum said the Belles (11-4-2, 8-4-1) were shell-shocked by the early strikes from Smith, but they put them in the rearview mirror and moved forward.

“We all were stunned after the first goals, but we put them in the past and just tried to play our game,” Rosenbaum said. “Once we started connecting our passes and settled down a bit, we were able to put more pressure on their defense and take more shots.”

Saint Mary’s responded by outshooting the Scots 15-13, including 6-5 on goal. But Alma withstood the Belles’ second-half surge, as sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Waier recorded six saves en route to her third clean sheet of the season.

“The first half was a rough half, but by the time the second half rolled around we were connecting more passes and working the ball down the field,” Rosenbaum said. “After the goals, our offense knew that the only way to score was to shoot the ball and that’s just what they did. We outshot Alma in the second half, but unfortunately none fell in the net.”

Despite the loss, the Belles still find themselves positioned in the thick of the conference postseason race. The top four teams in the MIAA advance to the conference tournament to determine which team advances to the NCAA tournament. Saint Mary’s sits in fourth place with 25 points after the loss. Hope and Alma sit one point higher in a tie for second place. Rosenbaum said the Belles are still confident in their ability to qualify for the MIAA Tournament.

“This was definitely a tough loss, but we still have three more games to prove that we belong in the conference tournament,” Rosenbaum said. “I have high hopes for us and know that we can [win] those [games].”

Saint Mary’s gets another chance to shake things up at the top of the MIAA standings when it battles Hope (11-4-2, 8-3-2) on Thursday. The Belles defeated the Flying Dutch 1-0 Oct. 6. Rosenbaum said Saint Mary’s will be looking for a similar result Thursday.

“I have very high expectations for us against Hope on Thursday,” Rosenbaum said. “Hope might be ranked higher than us, but I know we are good enough to beat them. Standings, records, statistics, and everything else go out the window when that whistle blows.”

Before the game, Saint Mary’s celebrated Senior Day and honored midfielder Maddie Meckes, defender Meaghan Daly and midfielder Ashley Morfin.

“It was great to honor and recognize our seniors for everything they have done for Saint Mary’s and us,” Rosenbaum said. “They put in so much time and effort over the past four years and it’s paying off [this season]. We will miss all three of them, but wish them the best of luck with life after graduation.”
The Belles square off with the Flying Dutch Thursday at 7 p.m. in Holland, Mich.

Contact Mike Monaco at [email protected]