Alma overwhelms SMC in conference blowout
Brett O'Connell | Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The Belles struggled to produce offense for the third game in a row as they fell to Alma, 19-3, in their final road game of the regular season Tuesday.
Saint Mary’s (6-9, 2-5 MIAA) struck early as sophomore attack and leading scorer Emilie Vanneste tallied her 39th goal of the season only four minutes into the game, but the Belles struggled to retain possession for the remainder of the game. The Scots (4-10, 3-3) rattled off 11 consecutive goals over the next 15 minutes of the first half, establishing dominant possession numbers early and never allowing the Belles an opportunity to retaliate.
Freshman midfielder Clare Theisen managed to score her 29th goal of the season with two minutes remaining in the first half, providing Saint Mary’s with a temporary reprieve from the Alma offensive push. The home team responded, however, scoring three more goals in 60 seconds to close out the first half with a 14-2 advantage.
The second half brought more of the same for both teams, with Alma dictating the pace of the play and Saint Mary’s struggling to retain possession. Alma senior midfielder and leading scorer Tracy Gallihugh scored four goals in a row during one stretch. Gallihugh netted seven goals on the evening, bringing her season total to 45.
Saint Mary’s head coach Amy Long said her team needs to focus on increasing possession numbers and shot selection as it moves towards the end of its season.
“We will look to control the ball more in our next game and will work on improving the quality of shots we take,” Long said.
The Belles’ loss to Alma marked their first three-game losing streak of the season, and they now find themselves seventh in the MIAA.
Saint Mary’s now moves into the home stretch of its season with two home games remaining. The Belles will host conference foe Kalamazoo on Thursday afternoon before hosting Dallas on Saturday for their final game of the regular season. As of Tuesday, Kalamazoo sits just one game ahead of the Belles for sixth place in the conference.
Long said she hoped her young team would finish out the season strong.
“We have two games left in the season, and I expect our team to fight until the end to finish our season with two wins,” she said. “Finishing our season strong is important, and we cannot focus on games in the past or our current losing streak. Our focus is on our next game and coming up with a win against Kalamazoo.”
The Belles host the Hornets on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Lacrosse Fields.