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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
The Observer

Belles still battling road woes, lose 3-2

As the season winds down, the road woes continue for the Belles.

Saint Mary's lost its fifth straight game on the road, failing to play consistently in a 3-2 loss to Hope College Wednesday.

"We came out strong, but Hope is a very physical team, and their aggressiveness became a challenge for us," senior captain Jen Herdman said. "They are a strong team, but we just did not get the opportunities today."

The Belles got off to a quick start when Carolyn Logan scored off an assist from Jen Concannon to put Saint Mary's up 1-0. But the team could not carry on its early momentum, and Hope answered with two more goals to put the score at 2-1 at the half.

The second half was no better for the Belles, as Hope scored again to extend its lead. Ashley Hinton scored later in the half off Concannon's second assist to make it 3-2, but Saint Mary's was unable to muster any more offense.

"The game was a battle in the middle of the field, so there wasn't much end-to-end action," Herdman said. "We didn't have as many opportunities around their goal."

Saint Mary's switched from its standard flat-back four defense to a flat-back three to counter Hope's offense, but Hope was still able to manage 20 shots on goal.

Laura Heline had 11 saves, but it proved to be not enough. The loss dropped the Belles to 8-5-1 in conference for the year and continued their trouble on the road.

"A lot of our road record has to do with us being a lot more comfortable on our home field," Herdman said. "For some unknown reason that we can't pinpoint, we can't play well on the road."

The Belles' troubles on the road have been the biggest difference maker in the team's failure to win their conference.

"The difference between any good team and any great team is that they can be consistent," Herdman said. "And the fact that we have not been able to pull off key wins on the road has hurt us a lot."

The Belles beat Hope 2-0 in their first meeting this season, but had trouble completing the season sweep.

"It would have been awesome to go out on top, but we're not going to give up for the rest of the season," Herdman said.

Despite the loss, the Belles still look to compete in their final two games.

"We're still here to compete; we're not going to give up, and we're not hanging our heads," Herdman said. "We've got a big game Saturday against Calvin. There are lots of family and friends coming in. It's the last home game for us, and for the seven seniors, it's our last game at Saint Mary's."

The Belles now look to Saturday, with their last big matchup of the season.

"We're always out to win, that's our game," Herdman said. "We can't give up, and we can't back down. Calvin's in first place, and it would be great to knock them down."