Focused Belles battle to 1-1 tie against Olivet College
By SARAH RYKOWSKI
They came, they played hard, they played long, and eventually had to settle for a tie. The Saint Mary's soccer team stands at third in the MIAA with a 1-1 tally against Olivet's squad.
"We came out ready to play," Katy Robinson, Belles co-captain, said. "We prepped for it all week."
The Belles broke their three game winless and scoreless streaks, with shutout losses to DePauw, Kalamazoo and Rose-Hulman. They also broke two-game losing and scoring streaks against Olivet, after suffering shutout losses in 1999 in both the regular season and the playoffs.
"Both teams were pretty well matched," Robinson said. "I'm pretty sure next time we'll get them."
The Belles took first blood, scoring early in the first half, when a penalty kick found the net. Stephanie Artnak took the shot for the Belles to bump her season's tally to two and lead the Belles in scoring. Artnak's other goal came in the season opener against Alma, also on a penalty kick.
"It came in the first 10 minutes," Heather Muth said. "She was awesome. We pummeled them with shots after that and nothing went in."
Like Robinson, Muth is confident that the next time the two teams face off, Saint Mary's will emerge the victor.
"We should have beaten them," Muth said. "They had a couple talented players but the rest of the team wasn't very good."
The Lady Comets out shot the Belles by an 18-10 margin. Eight of those shots were credited to Laura Fiorino, who scored the game-tying goal for the Comets, and seven by Doris Sullivan, the Comet's leading scorer in 1999, who assisted Fiorino's goal.
The Belles' defense, which has struggled at times this season, held under the pressure of the powerhouse duo. Tia Kapphahn, starting goalie for the Belles, came away with eight saves, while Tanja Rupert, the netminder for the Comets, left the match with four saves.
"I think we're finally getting our defense in line and working together," Robinson said. "Now we're able to work on our offense."
After coming out strong against Alma, the Belles' offense has also seemed a bit lackluster. According to Muth, that has changed as well, for the better.
"We were much more aggressive," Muth said. "We attacked the 50-50 balls. We've been going out and getting to the ball first."
Through their losses, heart has never been a problem for this team. That showed as well against Olivet. They wanted to win.
"Even at the end of the game, I could have gone another 45 minutes, just to score a goal," Muth said.
Muth was able to do just that last season in a home match against Adrian. In that game, Muth scored as the clock ran down in a second sudden-death overtime. Nevertheless, Muth was happy with the tie, which also ended after two sudden-death overtimes.
"It was a great game," Muth said. "It was so exciting."
The Belles stand at 1-3-1 for the season, and 1-1-1 in MIAA play.
They face Manchester College at home on September 20.
All Sports Stories for Monday, September 18, 2000