Belles win nailbiter against Calvin
Rebecca Rogalski | Thursday, September 18, 2014
In a close contest against Calvin, Saint Mary’s ultimately came out on top, defeating the Knights, 1-0, Tuesday. The win was the Belles’ first MIAA win in program history against the Knights.
After a scoreless first half, the Belles (3-4, 1-2 MIAA) came out in the second half on the attack, putting the pressure on Calvin’s defense early. In the 67th minute, sophomore midfielder Jenn Jarmy sent a cross toward the goal where senior midfielder Erin Mishu connected with a header for her second goal of the season to put the Belles up, 1-0.
Energized by the late lead, the Belles’ defense continued to stand strong while the midfield and forwards helped Saint Mary’s freeze the Knights (1-5, 0-3) and maintain the 1-0 victory. After out-shooting the Belles throughout the first half, Calvin only had three shots in the final 45 minutes of play, with just one of those attempts coming on goal. Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s was able to put three of their four shots in the second half on goal.
Saint Mary’s coach Michael Joyce praised his team’s defense in the shut out of the Knights.
“The key to our success in Tuesday’s game was without a doubt … defensive improvements,” Joyce said. “We’ve let in too many goals this season, and I think we played with a little extra intensity and communication in the back, which really helped us keep a clean sheet.”
Joyce said his senior center backs Mary Kate Hussey and Kerry Green also did an excellent job organizing the back line and dealing with pressure and crosses.
Despite the victory, Joyce said improvements are still needed all around the squad.
“I still think we could play a little bit sharper,” Joyce said. “There’s been a few too many unforced errors and a few too many giveaways. We like to posses the ball a lot, but we haven’t quite gotten to the point where we were last year where we are constantly hitting our strides.”
The Belles hope to continue their success as they face Hope. The Flying Dutch, who currently lead the MIAA, are undefeated in conference play.
“We really need to start out this game strong,” Joyce said. “Every time we’ve gone up against them the past couple of years, we’ve always gotten ourselves into a hole in the first 25 minutes of play and been down a couple of goals. Many games have gone well and we’ve played well after that, but it’s always tough to dig yourself out of that hole once you’re in it.”
Despite the challenges they face, Joyce said he believes the Belles can compete with Hope.
“All we can do is play as well as we can,” Joyce said. “We’re right up there with any of the teams in our league, and as long as we can remain consistent in our performance, then we should have no problems competing with the best.”
The Belles travel to Holland, Mich. to square off against Hope on Saturday. Kick-off is scheduled for noon.