Belles Hand Bulldogs First Loss of Season
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's soccer team responded with a goal four minutes after Adrian tied the game to take a 2-1 win and give the regionally-ranked Bulldogs their first loss of the season.
The Belles came out of the start by applying early pressure to the Bulldogs' defense. On the first true offensive opportunity of the game, Mollie Valencia lofted a pass inside the box from the right sideline. Maggie McLaughlin elevated past her defender and got a clear header away and past the Adrian goalkeeper for the 1-0 Saint Mary's advantage in the sixth minute of play.
Saint Mary's controlled the ball for much of the opening 45 minutes as the Belles held the No. 9 Central Region Bulldogs to just one shot in the first period.
The defending conference champion Bulldogs opened the second half by controlling the ball and pushing forward more than they had in the opening half of play. The Belles' defense was able to hold Adrian at bay until the beginning of the 74th minute of play. A ball that was played from right to left across the top of the penalty area appeared to be on its way out of the Adrian offensive end of the field. The ball, however, was resettled just outside the 18 yard box right at the feet of the Bulldogs' Abby Doebel, who then lofted a high-arcing shot just off the bottom of the crossbar and into goal to equalize the contest.
The Belles took little time to respond. In the 78th minute, the ball took a Saint Mary's bounce in a big way. The Belles were pushing forward on offense despite Adrian having a player advantage back on defense. A ball played well into the penalty area took a bounce off of a defender and off of the goalkeeper on its way to a wide open Ashley Morfin. The senior had no one to beat as she punched in what proved to be the game winner inside the six-yard box.
Over the final 12 minutes of play, the Belles limited the Bulldogs to just two shots, both of which came from distance.
Maggie McLaughlin's goal in the sixth minute was her second goal of the season, and both goals have come off headers for the freshman midfielder. Ashley Morfin's game winner was the sixth goal of her career and the third game-winning goal for the senior.
Chanler Rosenbaum earned the win in goal with three saves in a full 90 minutes of play.
The Belles (4-0-1, 2-0 MIAA) are off to their first 2-0 start in conference play since the 2006 campaign. Saint Mary's will have a week to prepare for the defending MIAA Tournament champion as the Belles travel to Alma next Saturday, September 22 for a noon contest against the Scots.