Strong Team Effort Falls Short for Belles Against Bulldogs
- Thallia Robles made nine saves.
- The defense was credited with a team save.
- Megan Saunders registered a shot on goal for the Belles.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The final score line was not indicative of how tightly the game was played as the Saint Mary's soccer team fell by a 2-0 score against Adrian in the Belles' final game of the season.
Resilience and grit were on full display from the home side as the Belles stood tall against the Adrian attack while pushing forward on a handful of solid chances in the first half. The Bulldogs had an early scoring chance which the defense's pressure forced wide of frame. In the seventh minute, McKenna O'Shea nearly threaded the needle with a pass to Ashley Hernandez on a counterattack opportunity, but the pass was intercepted by the Adrian center-back. Callie Doyle won the ball back and earned a corner kick for the Belles less than a minute later. O'Shea sent the corner kick into the box but was unable to connect with a teammate on the end of that pass.
A foul in the box against the Belles in the 18th minute led to a penalty kick for Adrian, and the Bulldogs' Caroline Fleming converted the chance to make it a 1-0 score. Saint Mary's nearly came back to find an equalizer less than four minutes later. Doyle and Hernandez connected along the left side of the field with a give-and-go pass combination. Doyle carried the ball 40 yards along the left sideline before cutting up along the endline and sending a well-paced cross into the box toward the far post. Emily Lambert was making the far post run but was unable to separate from her defender for the goal-scoring chance. Just a few minutes later, Megan Saunders came up with a big defensive play as the freshman headed away a dangerous cross in front of the right post to keep the Belles in the match.
The Belles had their best opportunity to get on the scoreboard in the first half in the 29th minute. After McKenna O'Shea was fouled along the right side of the field, Cedella Breitenstein lined up the free kick and dropped the ball near the mouth of the goal. Megan Saunders met the ball as it was coming down and directed a shot toward the right post, but the Adrian goalkeeper was able to smother the ball before it crossed the line.
Thallia Robles picked up five saves over the final 16 minutes of the opening period as the score stood at 1-0 at the halftime break.
The defense continued to stymie the scoring chances for the Bulldogs during the second half of play. Saint Mary's shut down eight consecutive Adrian corner kicks over the opening 27 minutes of the period. Robles added two more saves as the Belles continued to battle. Doyle and Hernandez had another smooth connection on a pair of passes on the left side as Doyle sprinted ahead with the ball. The sophomore had another well-paced cross from outside of the 18-yard box, but she was unable to connect with a teammate at the far post.
A second foul whistled against the Belles in the box, however, led to a second penalty kick for Adrian, and the Bulldogs doubled their lead in the 76th minute.
The defense continued to hold their ground as several Belles came up with plays in the box to break up scoring chances for Adrian. In the waning minutes of the game, Emily Lambert cleared a sure goal off the line at the right post, and Saint Mary's fought off seven corner kicks in the final nine minutes of play as the game ended 2-0.
Thallia Robles made nine saves, the defense was credited with a team save, and Megan Saunders registered a shot on goal for the Belles.
Saint Mary's ends their season 1-17 overall with a 1-16 mark in MIAA competitions.