Belles Outlast Bluejays
- The Belles hit the eight-win mark for the first time in program history.
- Emilie Vanneste led the way with four goals and an assist while also causing four turnovers and picking up six ground balls.
- Kate Kelly added three goals and six ground balls.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - With two games still remaining on the regular season schedule, the Saint Mary's lacrosse team set a new program record for wins in a season by defeating Elmhurst 11-7 on Monday night.
The win gave the Belles their eighth victory of the season. The third year varsity program posted seven wins a season ago, which was the previous high mark.
On a day when both sides showed a lot of patience in their offensive ends of the field, the visiting Bluejays broke through first with a goal less than two minutes into the contest. That lead was short-lived for Elmhurst. Lauren Telford won the ensuing draw control for the Belles. Hanna Makowski connected a pass with Emilie Vanneste, and Vanneste sent home her first goal of the game less than a minute after the Bluejays' goal. Two and a half minutes later, Molly Stout was on the passing end and Vanneste was on the receiving end of the ball before netting her second goal in as many shots to give Saint Mary's their first lead of the game.
Rachel Fetterhoff caused a turnover and started the clear with a ground ball a short while later. Kate Kelly then doubled the lead for the Belles with an unassisted effort with under 23 minutes left on the clock. Saint Mary's then took full advantage of an extra-player opportunity as Clare Theisen netted a free position goal with 19:20 on the clock to put the Belles ahead 4-1.
Three goals over the next 13:41 of play by Elmhurst, however, knotted the game at 4-4 with 5:39 remaining before halftime. After a Saint Mary's timeout, the Belles came right out and regained control of the lead. Theisen won the draw as Saint Mary's patiently played with possession for more than two and a half minutes. Theisen then had a shot turned away before Kate Kelly bounced a shot off the post. Jackie Loesch had ground balls off of both shots to continue to keep the possession alive. With less than a minute remaining before the half, Theisen threaded a pass in to Vanneste, and the junior put away her third goal of the half to put Saint Mary's up 5-4.
Cara Givens came up with a save early in the second half to keep the Belles ahead. A short while later, a clean check by Emilie Vanneste resulted in a caused turnover and a ground ball to start the transition for Saint Mary's. Vanneste played the ball ahead and found Hanna Makowski wide open at the top of the offensive zone. Makowski then sliced through the defense and fired in a shot from inside the critical scoring area to make it a 6-4 game with just under 23 minutes left on the clock.
Teresa Guerrero nearly doubled the lead immediately, but the senior's shot ricocheted off the crossbar and up over the goal. Elmhurst came back with two consecutive goals to tie the game at 6-6 with 17:16 on the clock. The Bluejays had a look at a potential go-ahead goal, but Givens kicked away a free position shot to preserve the tie score. That save led to a ground ball for Katlynn Dee before Clare Theisen had a close-range shot stopped. The ball bounced back outside of the goal circle, and Vanneste was there to pick up the ball and shoot an unstoppable shot to push the Belles back ahead at 7-6. It was quickly 8-6 in favor of Saint Mary's after Kelly chipped in her second goal of the game at 12:32.
The Bluejays edged within a goal almost four minutes later with a goal at 8:46, but the Belles were able to keep the Elmhurst side without a shot over the next five and a half minutes of play. Hanna Makowski had a shot hit off the post, but the sophomore later found Theisen for a goal with more than four minutes remaining to give Saint Mary's the 9-7 advantage.
Elmhurst managed to get off a shot with 3:11 on the clock, but the effort went wide. The Belles gained control after the shot, and Kate Kelly found a way to shake past a defender for a goal from short range to push the lead to 10-7 with 2:16 to go. Hanna Makowski made a pass from Vanneste count late in the game as the sophomore capped off the scoring with her second strike of the day with 1:23 remaining.
Emilie Vanneste led the way with four goals and an assist while also causing four turnovers and picking up six ground balls. Kate Kelly added three goals and six ground balls. Hanna Makowski tallied two goals and two assists. Clare Theisen chipped in two goals, an assist, and four draw controls for the Belles. Molly Stout registered an assist, and Cara Givens made seven saves while playing all 60 minutes in goal.
The Belles (8-7, 4-2 MIAA) travel to Kalamazoo on Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. contest against the Hornets.