Belles set to host Bulldogs in conference opener
Alex Bender | Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Saint Mary’s hosts Adrian on Wednesday at Saint Joseph High School in MIAA action.
The game marks the first conference matchup of the year for the Belles (3-5). While the team is below .500 at this point in the season, head coach Amy Long said she feels very good about her team heading into this contest.
“We are going into this game with confidence and excitement,” Long said. “We have prepared for our conference games all season long and during our preseason so it is very exciting that our first conference game is upon us. Our team motto is ‘MTXE: Mental Toughness, Extra Effort,’ and that best describes our mindset we will be entering tomorrow’s game with. We are excited and ready to outwork Adrian and stay mentally tough throughout the game.”
Saint Mary’s has been competitive in most of its losses this season, including two one-goal defeats. Many of its games have also been shootouts, as it has scored at least 10 goals in all but three of its games. As the Belles enter this game, there is no plan to stray from their traditional game plan, Long said.
“Our game plan is not changing drastically for tomorrow’s game,” Long said. “We are continuing to build on the large team concepts we have been working on throughout this season and will have a focus on our execution. The details and basics cannot be forgotten while we are implementing our bigger picture strategies. Specifically, we are determined to minimize turnovers and take care of the ball in everything we do.”
The game against the Bulldogs (1-6) will mark the start of an eight-game stretch of conference play for Saint Mary’s leading up to the MIAA tournament. The tournament features the top four teams in the conference during the regular season.
“This is a huge game for us,” Long said said. “Earning the win in our first conference game will set the tone for us as we dive into conference play. Our team goal is to finish in the top four to qualify for the MIAA tournament. We are taking it one game at a time, but that is the direction we see our team going and what we plan to achieve this season.
“I think we’ve had a great season so far. There are obviously a few close games that we suffered losses in we’d like another chance at, but we are focused on moving forward and putting the lessons we learned in those games to good use as we begin conference play. It is beneficial to us that we had the opportunity to play against tough competition in many close games so far this season. We have improved drastically since our first game, which was four short weeks ago, and I look forward to seeing us continually improve in the coming weeks. I am pleased with our season so far and am excited to show the conference what we’re made of.”
Saint Mary’s and Adrian will face off at Saint Joseph High School on Wednesday at 5 p.m.