Belles Stopped Short in Heartbreaker
- Clare Theisen and Kendra Osinski each scored three goals to help pace the Belles.
- Theisen added a game-high nine ground balls and caused four turnovers.
- Hanna Makowski scored two goals and registered an assist.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team came up just shy in a hard-fought 12-11 final against Hope in the MIAA Tournament Semifinal round on Wednesday night.
The first half of the contest was a tightly-played defensive battle between the two sides. The Belles put the pressure on with the offense only to have the first handful of shots on goal pushed aside. Saint Mary's broke through with under 19 minutes remaining in the period. Emilie Vanneste made a pass from the right side of the offensive zone to Molly Stout on the left side of the critical scoring area. Stout caught the pass at the top of her reach and followed right through with a shot that found its way just below the crossbar and into the goal for the 1-0 lead. The Flying Dutch equalized the score three minutes later after a loose save was picked up and shot from point-blank range.
Saint Mary's quickly responded. Clare Theisen collected the draw control and gained a free position opportunity. The junior made the most of that chance and put the Belles up 2-1 just 19 seconds after Hope's goal. The offense struck again quickly. Mary Singler earned the ensuing draw control. Hanna Makowski threaded a leading pass to Theisen up the middle of the critical scoring area, and Theisen sent home her second goal of the game for the 3-1 advantage with 14:29 on the clock.
Hope got a goal back with a quick pass off of a free position setup as the score moved to 3-2 with under three minutes left before the break. As the clock was winding down, the Belles picked up a ground ball on a failed Hope clear attempt. Saint Mary's quickly worked the ball around the offensive end. Singler then made a pass from the top of the fan on the left side of the field down to Kendra Osinski. Osinski turned and shot the close-range shot to tally her first goal of the game with two seconds left before halftime to push the Belles' lead to 4-2.
Osinski made it a 5-2 game just 30 seconds into the second period with a free position goal. Hope got a goal back, but the Belles regained a three-goal lead almost immediately. Theisen won the next draw, and Singler picked up an assist on a quick series of passes which led to Molly Stout's second goal of the contest.
The Flying Dutch cut the score to 6-4, but again, the Belles had a quick response. Just 20 seconds after the Hope goal, Singler notched her third assist as Hanna Makowski calmly put a well-placed shot past the goalie for the 7-4 Saint Mary's lead. Hope continued to chip away at the scoring difference, and the Flying Dutch drew even with the Belles after three consecutive goals made it 7-7 with 15:26 remaining in regulation. Hope added two more goals for a 9-7 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining.
A flurry of shots against the Hope goalie led to the next goal for the Belles. Makowski and Stout each had a shot turned aside. After Stout's shot, however, Makowski quickly collected the ground ball and put another shot into the back of the net to make it a one-goal game at 9-8. Four minutes later, Kendra Osinski tied the game at 9-9. The freshman drew a free position attempt, and after fighting past the collapsing defense, found enough space to score her third goal of the game.
The Belles took full advantage of an extra-player opportunity as the clock moved under the six-minute mark. Emilie Vanneste cut under a defender inside the eight-meter area and fired a shot across her body and into the goal to give Saint Mary's a 10-9 lead with 5:24 to play. Hope quickly equalized with a goal to make it 10-10. Hope gained an 11-10 lead with just under four minutes left in the game, but the Belles were far from finished. Vanneste had a free position shot stopped with under a minute remaining. Clare Theisen, however, sprinted in from the left side, picked up the ground ball, and scored from just outside the goal circle to knot the game at 11-11 with 48 seconds to play. The Flying Dutch, however, gained the ensuing draw control and scored with 24 seconds left on the clock. The Belles had one last chance to push the ball up the field and had possession of the ball just inside the restraining line with four seconds to play. The last-second tying goal, however, was not to be in the 12-11 final.
The score was not the only stat line which ended in the narrowest of margins. Saint Mary's had 26 shots to Hope's 25 while both sides picked up 37 ground balls. The Flying Dutch committed one more turnover (37) than the Belles (36), and Hope had 13 draw controls to Saint Mary's total of 12.
Clare Theisen and Kendra Osinski each scored three goals to help pace the Belles. Theisen added a game-high nine ground balls and caused four turnovers. Hanna Makowski scored two goals and registered an assist. Molly Stout chipped in two goals. Emilie Vanneste had a goal and an assist, and Mary Singler posted three assists and six draw controls. Cara Givens made six saves in goal.
The Belles' record-breaking season ends with a 10-7 record as Saint Mary's earned their first appearance in the top-four only MIAA Tournament.