Belles Victorious in Season Opener
- Emily Rompola, Liza Felix, Mary Wandor, and Jennifer Buck each scored a goal.
- Saint Mary's out-shot Manchester 13-7 and held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.
- It is the biggest season-opening win for the Belles since the 2011 season.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Four different players found the back of the net as the Saint Mary's soccer team took a commanding 4-1 win over Manchester to open the season on Friday night.
The Belles set the tone early by having long stretches of possession while narrowly missing on a handful of crosses and connections in dangerous spaces. Kate Vasile had a shot from inside the box go just wide left. Not even a minute later, the Belles earned their second corner kick of the night. Kellen Hinchey sent a well-struck ball in front of the mouth of the goal. Kay Thursby redirected the cross to the feet of Emily Rompola, and the senior had an easy tap-in goal from close range off to put Saint Mary's ahead in the 15th minute of play.
The Spartans took advantage of a misplayed ball just outside of the center circle in their offensive end. A pass ahead led to Manchester netting the equalizer six-and-a-half minutes after the Saint Mary's goal, but the Belles were unfazed in their efforts. Saint Mary's quickly regained the momentum. Callie Doyle played the ball into space along the left flank for Liza Felix. The senior ran onto the pass before making an in-and-out move to evade her defender. Felix took a composed shot from well inside the 18-yard box and slid the ball past the keeper to put the Belles up in the 24th minute.
Shayleigh O'Donnell, Mary Wandor, and Kate Vasile each added a threatening shot attempt late in the half as the Belles held the 2-1 advantage at the halftime break.
Mary Wandor made quick work of adding to the lead in the second half. Off the Belles' first possession, the freshman sent a high-arcing cross from well outside the 18-yard box in toward goal. That cross caught all the players on the pitch off guard and bounced off the far post and in for the freshman's first collegiate goal in the opening minute of the second half. Less than five minutes later, Jennifer Buck got on the score sheet after receiving a pass from Felix and sending a well-placed shot low and inside the left post for her first collegiate goal in the 50th minute.
Saint Mary's continued to win possession of the ball and held the Manchester offense at bay over the remainder of the contest for the biggest season-opening win for the Belles since the 2011 season - a 4-0 win over Defiance.
Thallia Robles picked up the win in goal after making three saves. The Belles out-shot the Spartans by a 13-7 margin and held a 7-1 advantage on corner kicks.
"Every player on our team contributed to tonight's win," said head coach Jesse Urquhart. "Our captains set the tone and scored our first two goals, and Kate Vasile played an important role despite being ill. Everyone played a role in tonight's victory. Emily Lambert and Emily Beedie were instrumental in our attack tonight. They made contributions that won't show up on the stat sheet but were very influential. Our first-year players really stepped up. Kellen Hinchey and Callie Doyle helped control the pace of the match and Jennie Buck provided a spark off the bench contributing to both second half tallies".
Saint Mary's (1-0) has a quick turnaround as they host the Milwaukee School of Engineering at 3:00 p.m. on day two of the Belles Invitational at the Purcell Athletic Fields.