Belles Stopped Short by Vikings
- McKenna O'Shea tallied a brace for the Belles.
- Molly Murphy picked up an assist on the team's first goal of the season.
- Thallia Robles made four saves in goal.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's soccer team came up just shy in a 3-2 loss against North Park on Friday night.
The Belles nearly pounced on the scoreboard just after the opening whistle. Kelsey Matyi sent a pass from the left flank in toward the top of the 18-yard box in the first minute of action. McKenna O'Shea ran onto the pass, took a touch forward toward goal, and fired a shot. The strike sailed just over the crossbar and away from goal.
The Vikings responded by capitalizing on their first opportunity of the contest with a goal in the third minute. The momentum, however, was short-lived as Saint Mary's found the equalizer 12 minutes later. Similar to O'Shea's first look at goal, the play started with a well-placed pass. Molly Murphy slotted the ball through the Vikings' defense, and O'Shea was composed on the finish on the other end of the play to notch her first official collegiate goal.
The defense came up big over the next few minutes for the Belles. Thallia Robles tallied a pair of saves, and the Saint Mary's back line made a nerve-wracking stop. With the Vikings putting together a play that was building toward a breakaway opportunity, Robles came off her line to try to put a stop to the play. The sophomore goalkeeper was unable to break up the pass, and a striker for North Park looked to have an open shot on net. Emily Beedie came up with a big 50-50 ball to stop the shot from ever happening, and the junior managed to recover from the initial play to clear the ball away from harm.
Midway through the half, Kelsey Matyi and Cedella Breitenstein each had opportunities for the Belles. Matyi fired a shot from the top left side of the 18 only to see the effort go barely wide right. Breitenstein followed up with a shot wide left as well as a dangerous free kick which ricocheted off the North Park goalkeeper and away from harm as the game stood at 1-1 at the half.
Saint Mary's opened the second period with a lot of pressure on the Vikings' back line. O'Shea started things off with a move through the defense which ended in a shot that barely went wide left. Megan Saunders collected the botched goal kick on the next play but fired a shot also wide left. The pair added two additional shots off the mark in the next 50 seconds as the Vikings had trouble clearing the ball out of the defensive end of the field, but the Belles could not fully capitalize on the chances.
The Vikings went up 2-1 in the 53rd minute on a well-placed shot from the left side of the field into the right side of the goal. A short while later, Breitenstein had an on-goal effort from 30 yards out early in the second half stopped with a one-hop save. North Park added a third goal for a 3-1 edge in the 76th minute, but the Belles were far from finished. Shortly after the Vikings were whistled for being offside, a long pass from the midfield found its way to the feet of O'Shea deep in the offensive end. The freshman striker weaved her way through a handful of defenders and coolly sent home her second goal inside the left post to make it 3-2 with over 11 minutes remaining on the clock. Saint Mary's was unable to put a shot on frame during that final stretch and fell by the 3-2 margin.
McKenna O'Shea finished the game with two goals, and Molly Murphy picked up an assist for the Belles. Thallia Robles collected four saves in goal. North Park held a narrow 16-14 edge in shots in the contest and a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal.
The Belles (0-1) return to action on Sunday when they travel to Manchester for a 1:00 p.m. contest.