Belles pick up first win in Hilton Head
Elizabeth Greason | Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Saint Mary’s had a busy and successful spring break trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, this past week, picking up its first win of the year against Elms.
The Belles (1-2) also tallied two losses during the week, falling to both Shenandoah and Bryn Mawr.
Belles head coach Amy Long stated before the Hilton Head trip that her goal was for the team to return home with at least one win from their three games. This is a goal that the Belles were able to achieve in their 15-8 victory over the Blazers (1-2), which was their second of the trip’s three games. Saint Mary’s fell to the Hornets (2-5) by a score of 13-5 in its first game of the season and lost a tight contest, 11-10, to the Owls (2-0). Despite the losses, Long said she feels that the trip was a very good one.
“Our trip was a great success, not because we earned a win, but because we improved greatly throughout the week,” Long said. “The coaching staff observed numerous improvements across the field from the first game to our final game in Hilton Head.
“Obviously, we would have liked to finish the job in the Bryn Mawr game and earn a second win, but we learned a lot about playing in a very close game and the adjustments we need to make for our next one-goal or overtime game. Losing a hard fought game by a single goal was difficult, but I expect the lessons learned from this experience to only help us as we prepare for our conference play in April.”
The Belles’ offense lived up to Long’s high expectations, she said, with numerous players stepping up throughout the three-day trip. In the Belles’ lone win, five different players scored goals. Freshman midfielder Kate Kelly had an especially strong start to her collegiate career, scoring five goals against Elms, and scoring in each of the Belles’ other games. Long said she was particularly pleased with her offense’s ability to work together.
“Our team worked well together throughout the course of the trip,” Long said. “Our team cohesiveness, both on and off the field, is a strength for us and something that developed even more over the course of our trip. Our offense did a great job working as a unit and all contributing to create openings for themselves and their teammates. We had 10 different players produce a goal or assist during our three-game trip.”
Looking forward, Long said she believes a key to earning more wins will be working on transitions, shot placement and cleaning up some basics, such as ground-ball pickups. According to Long, putting in this effort is what the season is going to revolve around as it moves forward.
“We have more than hope for a great season,” Long said. “Our team motto this year is ‘Mental Toughness, Extra Effort,’ and we know by staying mentally tough and putting extra effort into everything we do, we will have our best season yet. It is not a hope, it is an expectation for this year.”
In its next game, Saint Mary’s will head to Concordia-Chicago, a team in its first season. While this can be difficult to prepare for, Long said she has made sure her team is as informed as possible on its opponents.
“I have been able to scout their team through our video exchange and will provide our team with a few key points from what I saw,” Long said. “We will prepare for this game, like any other game, by focusing on what we can control, which is how we play. I expect us to come out and play hard each minute of the game, which can only lead to a great result.”
The Belles will take on the Cougars on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Concordia Stadium.