Belles Prevail in Back-and-Forth Battle With Bulldogs
ADRIAN, Mich. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team scored six of the final seven goals to defeat two-time defending MIAA champion Adrian by a 13-9 final on Friday afternoon.
After falling behind 3-0 through the first eight minutes of play, the Belles were able to steady their efforts and get right back into the game.
The Belles won the draw after the Bulldogs' third goal and made the possession count. Clare Theisen fed a pass to Emilie Vanneste, and the sophomore put home the Belles' first goal of the game with more than 20 minutes left in the first half.
Less than three minutes later, the Belles turned a defensive stop into offense by switching ends of the field quickly. A ground ball pick up in the defensive end by Aubrey Golembieski was converted into a goal at the other side of the field by Clare Theisen to make it a 3-2 game.
Both teams had solid chances of scoring over the next six minutes, but both goalkeepers came up with a save on a free position shot as the score stayed at 3-2 in favor of the Bulldogs with under 12 minutes to go before halftime.
Saint Mary's stuck with the play after a failed clear attempt, and Emilie Vanneste won the ball back for the Belles. Hanna Makowski tied the game at 3-3 fifty seconds later on her first goal of the game.
The Belles' confidence continued to grow as Saint Mary's took their first lead of the game just 25 seconds later. Clare Theisen won the draw, carried the ball around the back of the goal, and scored on a diving shot from the left side of the edge of the crease to put the Belles up 4-3.
The Bulldogs drew even five minutes later, but the Belles had an immediate response on offense. Vanneste sent home a free position shot with 3:51 left on the clock to make it 4-4.
Adrian took advantage of a failed clear by the Belles late in the half to make it 5-5 with 1:18 remaining, but Saint Mary's was not done just yet in the half. After getting a turnover near their defensive restraining line, the Belles pushed the ball ahead quickly in the final minute. Emilie Vanneste worked the zone and buried a mid-range shot to put the Belles up 6-5 with 21 seconds left before the half.
The Bulldogs made it a tied game for the fourth time with a goal 2:30 into the second period. Again, the Belles pulled ahead after Makowski connected with Golembieski with 24:29 on the clock.
Adrian tallied back-to-back goals to take their first lead with 17:55, but the Belles refused to let the Bulldogs gain any more momentum. Makowski converted a free position chance with her second goal of the game to knot the game at 8-8.
The Belles called a timeout and were dominant after that break for the rest of the game. Emilie Vanneste put Saint Mary's back on top with a free position goal at the 12:32 mark, and Clare Theisen doubled the Saint Mary's lead with 9:33 to go after cutting through the 8-meter area and sending home her third goal of the game.
Hanna Makowski made it an 11-8 game with a shot from left side of the 8-meter area after the Belles forced the Bulldogs into a failed clear. Two minutes later, Vanneste rolled the crease, hesitated briefly, and scored just in front of the goal for the 12-8 Belles lead with 6:14 left.
The Bulldogs won the ensuing draw and quickly scored to try to regain some momentum late, but the Belles won the draw and held on to the ball for big stretches of time in the closing minutes of the game. Clare Theisen capped off the impressive team effort with a goal with 14 seconds remaining to lift the Belles to the 13-9 victory.
Saint Mary's out-shot Adrian 18-5 in the second half alone and 35-16 over the course of the game. The Belles held a 37-24 edge in ground balls and had ten fewer turnovers (16) than the Bulldogs (26).
Emilie Vanneste led all players with five goals. Clare Theisen matched her season high with four goals while adding an assist and eight ground balls. Hanna Makowski tallied three goals and an assist, and Aubrey Golembieski chipped in a goal in the Belles' winning cause.
Shannon Weyer registered four saves while earning the win in goal.
The Belles (5-5, 1-1 MIAA) return home to host Olivet on Tuesday, April 7 for a conference game against the Comets starting at 5:00 p.m.