Belles fall behind early, fail to recover
Rebecca Rogalski | Monday, April 28, 2014
Saint Mary’s wrapped up its inaugural season with a 24-6 loss at home against Alma on Saturday. The Scots scored the first three goals of the game, taking a 3-0 lead over the Belles only four minutes into regulation.
Sophomore attack Tess Guerrero made a few quick moves to work her way past Alma’s defenders and score the first goal of the game for the Belles (2-13, 1-7 MIAA) in the middle of the first half. Freshman midfield Aubrey Golembieski scored a free position goal late in the opening period to make it a 4-2 game.
Despite shaving the deficit, the Belles struggled to keep up with the Scots. Alma (12-5, 7-1) rattled off a 14-0 offensive run over the rest of the first period and the first minutes of the second half to establish an 18-2 lead.
Golembieski scored back-to-back goals with freshman midfield Cathy Baxter assisting on the second goal to make it an 18-4 contest. With only minutes remaining in the second half, junior attack Colleen Conway fired a shot past the Scots’ goalie while sophomore defense Sarah Neeser scored a free position goal to make it a 22-6 game. Alma added a pair of late goals for the 24-6 final. Freshman goalkeeper Stephanie Szymas posted nine saves for the Belles in her final game of the season.
Belles coach Amy Long said she attributed her team’s difficulties to the overwhelming number of injuries.
“We began the game versus Alma with 12 players and ended up playing more than half the game man-down because of two injuries,” Long said. “Alma scored 14 of their 24 goals while playing man-up. Our team’s main struggle was the number of healthy players we had available at the end of our season. Each and every one of our players worked tirelessly the entire season including the final week of play, which featured three conference games in five days with no subs.”
Despite the challenges the Belles faced this weekend, Long said many players stepped up their games and showed major improvements, especially Golembieski.
“Aubrey played a great game with three goals, scoring two of them while we played man-down,” Long said. “It was also great to see Colleen, Tess and Sarah finish the season strong with each of them tallying a goal of their own. Additionally, [freshman defense] Katlynn Dee had a great game defensively. She led our team with six ground balls and caused four turnovers.”
Despite ending the season 2-13 with a 1-7 record in the MIAA, the Belles are keeping a positive attitude, focusing on player development and team foundation, according to Long. Long said these elements will help Saint Mary’s as the program looks ahead to its second season.
“I am looking forward to having a larger team next season,” she said. “We will have eight to 10 incoming freshmen on the team, and I know that our players are looking forward to the growth of our program. It will be great to have subs for our games and have our players push each other even more next season. Overall, I am incredibly optimistic that we will have a winning season next year.”