Belles Downed by Blue Jays
ELMHURST, Ill. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team jumped out to a 2-0 lead through the first 9:10 of the game, but a big run by host Elmhurst proved to be too much to overcome as the Belles fell by a 14-5 final on Saturday.
Shannon Weyer came up huge in the opening minutes against the Blue Jays. The sophomore goalkeeper saved the first four shots she faced, including a pair of 8-meter shots, to keep the momentum in favor of the Belles as the game remained scoreless through the opening seven minutes of play.
After that fourth save, the Belles had a successful clear and settled into their offense. As the ball worked its way around the zone, Clare Theisen made a move to get past her defender and scored on a shot from well inside the 8-meter fan to give Saint Mary's the 1-0 lead.
The Belles won the ensuing draw control and went right back on offense. A free position shot by Tess Guerrero was turned away, and the junior put another shot high of the goal frame. Both times, the Belles kept possession of the ball to continue to pressure the Blue Jays. The third time was the charm on that offensive possession for Saint Mary's as Theisen struck again with another goal right in the middle of the 8-meter fan to put the Belles up 2-0 with 20:50 remaining in the first half.
The Blue Jays, however, jump started an 8-0 scoring run by getting on the scoreboard less than 30 seconds after Theisen's second goal. Elmhurst put seven more goals on the scoreboard over the final 19 minutes of the first half.
The Belles had a handful of good scoring chances during that same span of time. Maria Roberts had a pair of free position shots, Gabriela Bravo had a quick shot from just outside the crease glance off the post and away from goal, and Emilie Vanneste had a free position shot of her own all within a span of six minutes.
Shannon Weyer came up with two more saves during the final five minutes of the half, but the Belles were unable to get on the scoreboard while the Blue Jays extended their lead to 8-2 at the break.
After both teams had a couple of good shots to open the second half, the Belles were able to break through for the first goal of the period. Emilie Vanneste was fouled inside the 8-meter area and converted the follow up free position opportunity to make it an 8-3 game with 24:38 on the clock.
The Blue Jays responded with a goal four minutes later, but the Belles continued to work hard while trying to chip away at the deficit. Theisen put two shots on goal and Guerrero had a shot turned away as Saint Mary's continued to get good looks at goal. Elmhurst, however, was able to rattle off three goals in-a-row to extend their lead to 12-3 with 13:10 to go.
A saved shot by Weyer quickly turned into a goal for the Belles. Hanna Makowski threaded a pass into traffic, and Theisen registered her third goal of the game with more than 11 minutes left in the period.
Two more goals by the Blue Jays made it 14-4 with just over two minutes remaining, but the Belles once again refused to go down quietly. In the final minute, Emilie Vanneste passed the ball in front of the goal to Theisen, who put away her fourth goal of the game to make it 14-5 with 28 seconds left.
Shannon Weyer closed out the game with a save on a free position shot in the final second of the contest as the game ended by that same 14-5 margin.
Clare Theisen scored a season-best four goals while leading the team with three caused turnovers and three draw controls. Emilie Vanneste added a goal and an assist. Hanna Makowski chipped in an assist for the Belles. Kristen Whalen and Gabriela Bravo led the team with four ground balls apiece. Shannon Weyer made nine saves in goal for Saint Mary's.
The Belles (2-3) return to play next Thursday, March 26 when they travel to Illinois Tech for a 6:00 p.m. CDT contest against the Scarlet Hawks.