Belles Down Comets to Remain Unbeaten
OLIVET, Mich. - The Saint Mary's soccer team pushed their current unbeaten streak to open the season to four in-a-row as the Belles defeated Olivet 4-1 in both teams' conference opener on Thursday.
Jordan Diffenderfer made an immediate impact upon entering the game. A substitute in the 23rd minute, the junior broke the scoreless tie with a low shot from inside the six-yard box off a pass from Maggie McLaughlin. The Belles then took full advantage of their first corner kick of the contest. With only a minute and a half remaining before the end of the first period, Mollie Valencia took the corner kick for Saint Mary's, and Diffenderfer added her second goal in as many attempts on the afternoon by heading Valencia's offering into the back of the net for the 2-0 advantage.
The game remained 2-0 in favor of the Belles until the 73rd minute when Maddie Meckes fired a shot from well outside the penalty area into the goal to push the lead to three. Less than six minutes later, the Saint Mary's lead moved to 4-0 as Erin Knauf had a shot from 15 yards out bounce into the goal for her first goal of her collegiate career.
The Belles entered today's contest as just one of 13 NCAA Division III teams not to have conceded a goal but saw that streak come to an end in the 82nd minute. The Comets got on the scoreboard when a shot by Lindsey Winters just inside the penalty area found its way inside the far post.
The ninth and tenth goals of her career, Jordan Diffenderfer had the second multi-goal game of her career while also picking up the assist on Knauf's goal. The junior tallied her fourth game-winning goal for the Belles in her career. Senior Maddie Meckes pushed her career goal total to seven. Junior Mollie Valencia added her fifth assist in her collegiate career.
Chanler Rosenbaum earned the win in goal for the Belles as she turned away five shots on goal in more than 78 minutes of play. Nicole Papiernik closed out the final 11-plus minutes in goal for Saint Mary's in the victory.
After starting last season 5-0, the Belles (3-0-1, 1-0 MIAA) have put together their first back-to-back seasons without a loss in their first four contests since the Saint Mary's soccer program posted matching 4-0-1 records in 2003 and 2004. That mark will be put to the test on Saturday when the Belles host defending MIAA Champion Adrian at noon at the Saint Mary's soccer field.