Belles Outlast Crusaders in Season Finale
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team capped of their 2015 season with a tight 8-6 win over the University of Dallas on Saturday afternoon.
The Belles were the first to light up the scoreboard on Senior Recognition Day. Colleen Conway, who was recognized prior to the start of the game, fed a perfect pass into the critical scoring area in front of the goal to a wide open Abby Krauss, who scored to put the Belles up 1-0 six minutes into the game.
Saint Mary's added to their lead four minutes later. After winning the ball back after a lengthy possession, the Belles capitalized as Emilie Vanneste scored inside the eight-meter area to make it 2-0 with 19:54 still remaining in the first half. Saint Mary's continued to control much of the tempo of play as well as possession of the ball while peppering the Crusaders' goalkeeper with several shots on goal.
It was the Crusaders, however, who struck next after a good passing combination led to the first goal of the game for Dallas midway through the half. That momentum quickly faded thanks to a pair of plays which showed some strong determination by the Belles. Mary Grace Heller had a shot blocked before picking up the ground ball and connecting with Clare Theisen for a goal as the clock moved just below the 13-minute mark. Less than a minute later, Maria Roberts won the draw control and earned a free position attempt for Saint Mary's. Roberts fired a shot just below the crossbar and in to make it a 4-1 game in favor of the Belles.
Strong defense by the Belles continued to hinder any chances the Crusaders worked to develop. Rachel Fetterhoff, Katlynn Dee, and Kristen Whalen each had at least one ground ball to regain possession for Saint Mary's during the next five minutes of play to keep the pressure on Dallas. That defensive pressure eventually resulted in more offense at the other end as Vanneste sent home her second goal of the game with just over seven minutes remaining until halftime.
The Crusaders broke up the Belles' scoring run with their second goal of the contest with 4:44 left on the clock, but Saint Mary's was not quite done scoring in the opening half. After working the ball around the offensive end for close to a minute, Mary Grace Heller made it a 6-2 game with an unassisted effort with 1:07 to go.
After the halftime break, the Belles once again were the ones to score first. The Crusaders had a goal wiped away after a dangerous follow through call in the opening six minutes of play. Just as that yellow card was expiring, Rachel Fetterhoff caused a turnover and scooped up the ground ball to start the Belles' transition from defense to offense. The ball made its way to Clare Theisen, and the freshman sent home her second goal of the game with 21:20 on the clock to make it a 7-2 game in favor of Saint Mary's.
A free position goal with just under 18 minutes left on the clock by the Crusaders made it a 7-3 game as the visitors looked to mount a comeback. The defense continued to make things difficult for that comeback effort as the Belles kept the Crusaders off the scoreboard for nearly nine minutes. Dallas did strike for a goal with 9:21 remaining to make it a 7-4 game, but the Belles came up with a nearly immediate response. Emilie Vanneste won the next draw control and sent a shot just between the goalkeeper and the post for her third goal of the game all in the span of 18 seconds to give the Belles an 8-4 lead.
The Crusaders made things interesting with a pair of goals in the span of a minute and a half as Dallas cut the deficit to 8-6 with 5:42 to go. Shannon Weyer came up with a big save on the Crusaders' next offensive possession while the Belles' defense continued to lock down Dallas. After a time out by the Crusaders, the Belles were issued a yellow card with 1:45 remaining in the game. Despite being down a player, Saint Mary's did not falter as Dallas had just one good scoring opportunity - a wide 8-meter shot - over the final 1:40 of the game as the Belles gritted out the 8-6 win.
As a team, the Belles held a 41-32 edge over the Crusaders in ground balls while out-shooting Dallas 30-21 in the contest.
Emilie Vanneste led all players with three goals and four draw controls. Clare Theisen added two goals and three draw controls. Mary Grace Heller had a goal and an assist. Maria Roberts and Abby Krauss each added a goal. Colleen Conway picked up the first assist of her career while adding a career-high four ground balls in her final game for the Belles.
Katlynn Dee had a career-high nine ground balls, and Rachel Fetterhoff led the team with four forced turnovers on the afternoon. Shannon Weyer made five saves in goal in the win.
The Belles end the season 7-10 overall and 2-6 in MIAA play.