Belles Hold Off Bulldogs for MIAA Win

Box Score

  • Shannon Weyer made a season-high 12 saves in goal.
  • Kate Kelly led all players with four goals, eight ground balls, and five caused turnovers.
  • Emilie Vanneste and Mary Grace Heller each tallied hat tricks.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - For the first time in the young history of the Saint Mary's lacrosse team, the Belles won their opening conference game of the season with a 12-9 victory over Adrian on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs struck first with a goal three minutes into the contest, but the Belles responded with four consecutive goals to take control of the game. Kate Kelly cut straight through the defense and got Saint Mary's on the scoreboard with 21:44 on the clock. Adrian was whistled for a yellow card, and the Belles took advantage of the extra-person opportunity as Kelly struck again. Barely 40 seconds later, the Belles won the draw and Hanna Makwoski found Clare Theisen for the Belles' third goal in a span of less than two minutes to put Saint Mary's ahead 3-1. A minute later, it was Emilie Vanneste's turn to light up the scoreboard as the junior tallied her first goal to put the Belles up 4-1 with 18:55 still to go in the first period.

Adrian stopped the scoring spurt with a goal almost two minutes later after a sustained possession. Saint Mary's came right back with another four-goal spurt to deflate the Bulldogs' hopes of a comeback in the first half. Lauren Telford caused a turnover, Molly Stout corralled the ground ball, and Vanneste scored her second goal to make it a 5-2 game. Shannon Weyer came up with one of her many solid goal-line saves, and Clare Theisen turned defense into offense with a strike with 13:35 left for the 6-2 lead. Kate Kelly then won the ensuing draw control and drove directly to goal to score her third goal of the game with 13:16 on the clock.

Nearly five minutes elapsed before Saint Mary's was able to break through again. Caleigh Gainey raced up the field and fed a near-perfect pass into the critical scoring area to help lead Mary Grace Heller to a goal with 8:22 to go before halftime.

Shannon Weyer came up with four big saves over the final eight minutes of the half. Adrian, however, was able to pick up some momentum going into the break after a late turnover by the Belles led to a free position goal just before the clock expired to make it an 8-3 game going into the half.

Much like the first half, Adrian tallied the first goal of the second period less than two minutes after the first whistle. The Belles called a timeout after regaining possession a short while later, and Emilie Vanneste took care of the ball up the field and behind the goal before finding a cutting Mary Grace Heller for the sophomore's second goal of the game with just under 22 minutes on the clock.

The Bulldogs got a goal back to make it a 9-5 score, but the Belles were able to keep some distance between the sides in the scoring columns with back-to-back goals. Rachael Leonard made a pass into the 8-meter area from the left side of the critical scoring area, and Mary Grace Heller had plenty of free space to get off an accurate shot to tally a hat trick with 18:52 to go. Shannon Weyer continued to be a thorn in the Bulldogs' side with two more saves, and Kate Kelly added her fourth goal to extend the lead to 11-5.

A pair of Adrian goals put some life back into the Bulldogs' efforts with under ten minutes left on the clock. A minute and a half later, Kate Kelly picked up a ground ball near the defensive restraining line and made a perfect leading pass to Emilie Vanneste on the offensive restraining line. The pass helped the junior create just enough space to beat her defender and have no one to beat but the goalkeeper, which is exactly what Vanneste did.

The Bulldogs did not go quietly and cut the deficit to four goals with under seven minutes remaining with a free position goal. The Belles won the next draw and shaved a minute off the clock before the Bulldogs regained possession. The defense did not make it easy for Adrian, but the visitors registered a goal with 3:32 left to make it a 12-9 game. Down the stretch, however, the Belles defense proved to be more than strong enough to keep the late lead in tact. Saint Mary's had a block on a free position shot, and Shannon Weyer made yet another big save on a second free position shot with under two minutes to go to preserve the 12-9 win.

Kate Kelly led all players with four goals, eight ground balls, and five caused turnovers. Emilie Vanneste picked up three goals and an assist. Mary Grace Heller added her second career hat trick with three goals. Clare Theisen scored a pair of goals and paced the Belles with five draw controls.

Shannon Weyer made a season-high 12 saves while picking up the win and playing all 60 minutes in goal.

The Belles (4-5, 1-0 MIAA) look to make it two in-a-row in conference play when they travel to Olivet on Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. contest against the Comets.