Coming off a hard-fought 3-1 loss at Hope Saturday, Saint Mary's returns home Wednesday to host Calvin.
Calvin had a near-perfect season last year, compiling a 22-0-1 regular sesaon record, reaching the NCAA Division III quarterfinals, and finishing No. 5 in the final Division III coaches' poll. While they have lost three of their first five games, all three losses came against teams that are currently ranked in the top 25 nationally - Kenyon College, University of Chicago and Wheaton College - the No. 1 team in the nation. Calvin is also still ranked No. 6 in the Great Lakes Region of the NSCAA poll.
But four-time all-MIAA first team forwards Jill Capel and Sarah Weesies graduated from last year's undefeated squad, as did two-time first team defender Tricia DeVries.
The two teams squared off twice in 2006, with Calvin emerging victorious both times. The first was a 6-1 blowout, but the Belles kept it close in the second game, falling 1-0.
In the second game the Belles did not manage to record a shot, while Calvin had 20. But in a year in which Calvin dominated most games it played, the Belles' effort was one of the more impressive.
With the change of guard taking place at Calvin and the roll the Belles have been on since the start of the 2007 season, Saint Mary's hopes this match will be much closer than either of last year's contests.
Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at the Saint Mary's soccer field.