Belles hang tough but fall to Kalamazoo
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, April 24, 2015
Saint Mary’s fought hard but ultimately dropped its final conference game of the season, 11-7, against Kalamazoo on Thursday night at Saint Mary’s Lacrosse Fields.
The game was hotly contested from the opening draw, though the visitors managed to find the scoreboard first off a free position shot about three minutes into the game. The Belles (6-10, 2-7 MIAA) fought back quickly, though, scoring twice in a five-minute span to claim their first lead of the afternoon.
Kalamazoo (5-8, 3-4 MIAA) would strike back 30 seconds later, scoring its own pair of goals to take a 3-2 lead heading into the latter portion of the first half. Freshman midfielder Clare Theisen closed the gap for the Belles on an unassisted shot for her second goal of the evening to draw the two teams even once more.
The first half still held more in store for both teams in terms of offense, though. Kalamazoo reclaimed its lead two minutes after Theisen’s goal. They nearly controlled that lead for the remainder of the half, but sophomore attack Emilie Vanneste managed to score on an unassisted shot for her second tally of the night with just 32 seconds remaining in the half to make it a 4-4 tie.
The Belles managed to strike first in the second half as Theisen completed her hat trick four minutes into the frame and Vanneste managed two more goals on the afternoon to bring her season total to a team-leading 42. The Belles spent much of the second half on defense, though, as the visitors managed to put 12 shots on goal to the home team’s nine. Of those 12 shots on goal, Kalamazoo managed to convert seven times — six unassisted — en route to their 11-7 victory.
One significant obstacle to the Belles possession game in the second half came at center field, where they struggled mightily on the draw. Kalamazoo managed to win eight of 11 draws in the frame, after the Belles held the advantage at halftime, 5-4.
The Belles did manage to cause some headaches for their opponents late in the game, forcing 16 turnovers in the second half. However, their aggression also resulted in foul trouble, as Saint Mary’s was tagged for 29 total fouls to Kalamazoo’s 22.
The Belles concluded their conference slate with a 2-7 record, relegating them to seventh in the conference. The team will hope to conclude its regular season on a high note this Saturday as it hosts Dallas at 1 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Lacrosse Fields.