Saint Mary’s tops Elmhurst, looks to clinch postseason birth against Kalamazoo
Elizabeth Greason | Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Saint Mary’s worked its way back to a winning record Monday, defeating Elmhurst 11-7.
The first period was a tight one, and the scoring was started off by the Bluejays (4-10, 0-4 CCIW), who got the first goal of the game past Belles freshman goalkeeper Cara Givens. The South Bend, Indiana, native has split playing time in goal with junior captain Shannon Weyer throughout the season, but Givens’ seven saves kept her in goal for the entire game.
Belles head coach Amy Long said the game was an important one for her team’s growth.
“Monday’s nonconference, rescheduled game allowed us to learn and perfect things going into our final two conference games,” Long said.
Saint Mary’s (8-7, 4-2 MIAA) responded and tied the game at one goal apiece when junior captain and attack Emilie Vanneste scored the Belles’ first goal on the day. Vanneste’s goal started a scoring run for the Belles, as they proceeded to score three more unanswered goals. Vanneste scored again to give the Belles the 2-1 lead, and then her score was quickly followed by goals scored by freshman midfielder Kate Kelly and sophomore midfielder Clare Theisen. The pair of midfielders are the Belles’ leading scorers on the season, and their first goals of the game were also their 37th goals so far this year.
The scoring run was stifled when the Bluejays scored again, making it a 4-2 game and spurring a scoring run for Elmhurst. Bluejays sophomore midfielder Phoebe LeRoy scored two more unanswered goals, bringing the score level again. It appeared that the teams were going to go into the second half tied up at four goals apiece, but Vanneste was able to find an opening and give the Belles the lead at the end of the first half, scoring her third goal of the game with 32 seconds left on the clock.
The Belles took control of the game in the second half, only allowing Elmhurst to score three times in the entire period while scoring six goals of their own.
Carrying forward the momentum from Vanneste’s last-minute goal in the first period, sophomore attack Hanna Makowski, who had also picked up an assist earlier in the game, made the first offensive move of the period and scored her 16th goal of the season.
Scoring for the majority of the period was sporadic until the Belles final scoring run. Elmhurst was able to catch up and tie the game up, 6-6, but the teams continued to trade goals, as Vanneste and Kelly each scored once more to give the Belles an 8-7 lead.
Then, the Belles were able to seal their win in the last minutes of the game, when they went on a three-goal run, which was started by Theisen’s second goal of the day. Kelly was able to pick up a hat trick and Makowski scored a second time to cap off the 11-7 victory. As a whole, Long said she was pleased with her team’s performance against the Bluejays, especially against their strong defense.
“Elmhurst played a solid zone defense that challenged us to continue to work together to create our drives to goal,” Long said. “They also had a couple quick attackers that really challenged our defense and goalie. Overall, we are playing well right now and need to keep pushing ourselves throughout this week and next to accomplish what we are capable of.”
When the Belles next take the field, they will be returning to conference play against Kalamazoo. The Belles will need to carry over the improvements they made against Elmhurst when they take on the Hornets (4-9, 3-3), Long added.
“One thing we focused on yesterday that will be crucial for Thursday’s game is the looks to goal we take and the quality of our shots,” Long said. “Kalamazoo has one of the best goalies we will see all year, so it’s important we are making the shots we take count in our game on Thursday.”
Throughout the season, the Belles’ goal has been to make the MIAA tournament. Saint Mary’s is currently in fourth place in the MIAA, and Long said she believes her team is fully capable of making the tournament.
“We are definitely motivated to win at Kalamazoo to guarantee our spot in the tournament,” Long said. “We have to win one of our last two games to advance, but our goal is to win them both to finish in third place in the conference going into the tournament. This team has come a long way this season, and I am excited to see us perform in the tournament.”
The Belles will take on the Hornets in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.