Belles Stung by Hornets
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team lost an 11-7 conference game at home against Kalamazoo on Thursday night.
The Belles were tough from the opening whistle. Tess Guerrero won the opening draw, and the team immediately got into their offense. Emilie Vanneste fired a shot from inside the 8-meter fan but had the effort pushed aside less than 30 seconds into the contest.
The Hornets pushed the ball ahead and got a free position attempt two minutes later. Kalamazoo scored on that free position to take a 1-0 lead, but the Belles responded right back. Vanneste won the ball back for Saint Mary's after she caused a turnover, and Clare Theisen made her first shot of the game count to tie the game at 1-1 with 26:34 still on the clock.
Both teams put a shot on goal during the next four minutes of play in what was a very evenly contested game. After a save by Shannon Weyer, Rachel Fetterhoff picked up the ground ball off the save and pushed the ball ahead. Emilie Vanneste went on the attack and put the Belles up 2-1 with her 40th goal of the season with 21:42 to go in the opening half.
Kalamazoo, however, came back with the next two goals of the game to pull ahead 3-2 with just under 18 minutes to go.
Vanneste and Caleigh Gainey each had a shot on goal in the next minute and a half of play as Saint Mary's fought to draw even. The Hornets gained control of the ball shortly after Gainey's shot, but Shannon Weyer kept her side right in the thick of things with a pair of big saves.
The Belles then took advantage of a failed clear as Clare Theisen scored as she fell to the ground to tie the game at 3-3 with 12:21 remaining on the clock.
After Kalamazoo pulled ahead yet again to make it 4-3, the Belles continued to battle for possession and offensive opportunities. It was not until the closing minutes of the half that Saint Mary's was able to draw even with the Hornets. Weyer came up with yet another save with 1:28 remaining in the period, and the Belles were able to successfully clear the ball. Emilie Vanneste worked the ball behind the goal and eventually freed herself from the defense enough to fire in a shot from close range with 32 seconds on the clock to tie the game at 4-4.
The teams continued to play very a evenly-matched game in the second period. The Belles scored first in the half after Clare Theisen completed the hat trick four minutes into the period.
Kalamazoo posted back-to-back goals to go ahead 6-5, but Emilie Vanneste answered back with her third goal of the game to tie it at 6-6 with more than 20 minutes remaining in the half. The game stayed at 6-6 for more than five minutes. Mary Grace Heller put a shot just wide, and Clare Theisen had a shot blocked inside the 8-meter area as the Belles battled to try to regain the lead.
Unfortunately for Saint Mary's, Kalamazoo was able to score next as the Hornets put their seventh goal on the scoreboard with 15:10 left on the clock. After a timeout by the Belles, Heller and Theisen both had even better looks at the goal but had their shots stopped at the goal line by the goalkeeper. On the Hornets' next possession after Theisen's shot, Kalamazoo extended their lead to 8-6 on a goal with less than 12 minutes remaining.
The game, however, was far from being decided. Kristen Whalen won the ensuing draw control, and Vanneste sent home her fourth goal of the game on a free position opportunity to make it 8-7 with plenty of time remaining for a comeback.
The Hornets put a stop to that comeback with a goal on their next possession before keeping of the possession of the ball for some big blocks of time in the final 10 minutes of play. After one such lengthy possession, the defense continued to stand their ground and keep Saint Mary's in the game by regaining the ball only to see a turnover tun into a goal with 4:15 to go to make it a 10-7 game. The Hornets added a goal with 1:27 left for the final 11-7 score.
Emilie Vanneste led all players with four goals while setting the new single-season goal record for the program. Clare Theisen added three goals, and both Vanneste and Theisen caused four turnovers. Katlynn Dee picked up five ground balls, and Shannon Weyer made nine saves.
The Belles (6-10, 2-6 MIAA) conclude the 2015 season on Saturday when they host Dallas starting at 1:00 p.m. Senior Colleen Conway will be recognized for Senior Day prior to the start of the game.