Categories
Sports

Belles shutout in season finale vs. Hope

Saint Mary’s soccer concluded its season Wednesday night with a 5-0 loss on the road against Hope. The game was scoreless for nearly the entire first half. But the Flying Dutch attack quickly came alive to earn a dominant win. For Saint Mary’s, the loss was their ninth in a row as they finished the season 0-13-3 (0-8 MIAA).

The Belles entered the game coming off of a heartbreaking 3-2 loss against Alma during which they led 2-1 before ceding consecutive goals in the game’s final minutes. The two goals scored by Saint Mary’s matched a season high and snapped a three-game scoreless streak.

Hope (9-4-2, 5-2-1 MIAA) was aggressive from the opening kickoff and never let up. The Dutch compiled sixteen shots on goal over the course of the game compared to just three for Saint Mary’s. The Dutch had several chances to score in the opening minutes. But they were stymied by stellar sophomore Belles goalie Riley Lindsey, who recorded eleven saves on the day.

Saint Mary’s spent most of the period defending in its own half of the field but had a scoring opportunity after earning a free kick in the 23rd minute. Freshman defender Abaigeal Patnode found senior forward Jillian Bowen inside the box. But Bowen’s shot attempt went just wide of the goal.

In the closing minutes of the first half, Hope broke into the scoring column for the first time. A Dutch shot attempt was saved by Lindsey but bounced back out to Hope’s Madelyn St. John, who found the back of the net for her first career goal. That seemed to open the floodgates for Hope, and they would continue to score in quick succession. Just before halftime, Hope’s Lauren Ellinger scored to double the Dutch advantage.

The Belles came out of the break looking to attack and created several scoring chances in the opening minutes. However, their inability to convert left the door open for Hope to continue building their lead. And the Dutch took full advantage. In the 53rd minute, a goal from Hope’s Natalie Hammer extended the lead to three. With the Belles on their heels, Hammer added another goal less than two minutes later to make the score 4-0.

Hope kept their foot on the gas pedal with the game seemingly in hand. Less than ten minutes later, St. John scored her second goal of the day to put Hope ahead by five. Freshman forward Hayley Flynn tallied her third assist, tying Hope’s single-game school record.

Facing a large deficit, the Belles found some of their best-attacking play in the game’s late stages. With under ten minutes to play, a pass in Dutch territory found Bowen with room to operate but was ruled offside. In the 86th minute, freshman defender Izzy Sherman received a pass near the goal after another well-executed Saint Mary’s free kick. But a save by Hope goaltender Parker Hutchinson preserved the shutout.

The defeat ended what was a disappointing season for Saint Mary’s. The team did not qualify for the MIAA Conference tournament and took a significant step back from last year’s 8-9 record.

Despite this, the outlook remains bright for the Belles. Even in losing efforts, a young Saint Mary’s team fought hard in nearly every game they played. They are primed for major improvement next season as they return a majority of their roster, which only has four seniors. With a more experienced and veteran lineup, the Belles will carry the lessons learned from this season into the next one as they look to compete for a postseason berth.

Contact Matthew Crow at mcrow@nd.edu.

Categories
Sports

State of the Belles

Most of Saint Mary’s sports saw a young team take over last year’s program. The fall sports are coming up on conference championships and only one of the Belles’ programs will head to the postseason.

Saint Mary’s cross country

Saint Mary’s cross country lost a significant number of runners before this season. Regardless, the team hoped to improve upon a 22nd-place NCAA tournament mark behind junior Amanda Tracy as they moved through the season. 

The Belles started the season strong at the Calvin invitational placing sixth out of 12 teams. Tracy led the Belles placing 31st and running a 24:39 (five seconds short of her 2021 personal record). Ultimately, Tracy has surpassed her personal record, running a 24:19.1 race at the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble, her most recent race. 

In their two most recent races, the Belles have been on the uptick. Against 36 teams, the Belles placed 29th at a DIII preview meet at Olivet College. Two weeks later the Belles arrived at the Rumble and placed 22nd against 33 teams and saw several personal records and season bests. 

As the Belles head into MIAA Conference Championship races on Friday, they’ll look to continue to set personal records and move up in the placements.

Saint Mary’s soccer 

Saint Mary’s soccer has yet to garner a win this season as the Belles are 0-7-1 at home and 0-5-2 away. The back line has been a strong wall but the Belles have lacked on the scoring front. In 15 games, the Belles have scored in just six of those, never scoring more than twice. Three of their scoring games ultimately resulted in a tie. 

While students were away from campus, the Belles dropped three games, getting outscored 6-2 in the process.

While the Belles are no longer in contention for the conference tournament, the last game of their season is Wednesday against Hope. The Thunder are 8-4-2 but the Belles will look to upset Hope and take home their first win of the season. As a young team still working out the kinks, the Belles will look to return stronger next season as conference championship play begins. 

Saint Mary’s volleyball

Saint Mary’s volleyball opened the season 3-1 before an intense 13-game losing streak derailed the Belles’ season. 

The Belles did, however, pick up two more wins during Fall Break, both of them at home. Against the Beloit Blue Devils, the Belles swept in their Pink Out Match on Oct. 14. Then, on Oct. 18, the Belles took down Olivet in a tight 3-2 match. Although they’re sitting outside the conference championship bracket, Saint Mary’s will look to get their first road win of the season against Adrian on Wednesday. 

Then, the Belles will celebrate Senior Day and close their season against Albion at home on Oct. 29, hoping to carry a little momentum into the 2023 season.

Categories
Sports

Belles drop 3-1 to Bulldogs

Despite the Belles soccer team fighting hard and maintaining a 1-1 tie for a long strip of the game, Saint Mary’s ultimately fell 3-1 against Adrian. 

The match started off with two shots from the Bulldogs. The first missed wide left, and the second was saved by sophomore goalkeeper Riley Lindsey. This was quickly followed by senior forward Jillian Bowen moving the ball upfield. After she dodged her defender, she sent the ball to a fellow forward, junior Kaitlyn Day. However, Day’s shot would ultimately miss right. Less than a minute later, Day had another shot on goal that would also go far right. 

However, Adrian found the back of the net just a few moments later. This momentum would lead to the Bulldogs taking six more consecutive shots. Lindsey saved four while two missed the net.

Sophomore forward Mary Kaczynski was eventually able to win the ball. Kaczynski was then able to pass the ball to sophomore midfielder Grace Barresi. Barresi was able to find the back of the net, notching her first collegiate goal and bringing the score to 1-1. Kaczynski’s assist was her first point of the season as well. 

It wasn’t until the 44th minute that Adrian was able to retaliate on a goal by Annamarie Fosmoen. After each team attempted to score, the Bulldogs were the ones who eventually won out. The teams went into the half with a 2-1 Adrian lead. 

The Bulldogs started the second half with momentum from the break, having two shots within three minutes. Though they fought hard, Saint Mary’s defense could only hold off the Bulldogs for so long. In the 78th minute, the Bulldogs were able to widen their 3-1 lead on a goal by Kelsey Zoli.

Despite the lead, the Belles did not give up. And, in the 89th minute, Kaczynski would have another attempt, but it did not go.  This would be the Belles’ only shot in the half. However, Lindsey would have six saves on the half, and 12 total in the match.

Although the Belles ultimately lost, there were some good things throughout the match that they hoped to bring on the road next week against Albion. Even though the Bulldogs outshot the Belles 22-4, Lindsey and the Belles’ defense were able to hold Adrian to only three goals.

Saint Mary’s currently holds a 0-8-3 record on the season (0-3 in conference play). Over the course of 11 matches, the Belles have scored six goals. This past game saw the first Saint Mary’s goal since they tied Lake Forest 2-2 on Sept. 17. 

The Belles have five more games on the season as they continue their attempt to register a win. Albion has a record of 5-2-3 (2-1 in conference) and looks to pick up another victory against the Belles.

Saint Mary’s Belles face off against the Albion Britons on the road Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

Categories
Sports

Belles soccer battles but falls to No. 9 Calvin Knights

The Saint Mary’s Belles’ soccer team fought hard, but ultimately fell 4-0 against the No. 9 ranked Calvin Knights on Tuesday.  

Within the first two minutes of the game, Calvin had a shot on goal, however it would miss left. A little over two minutes later, the Knights would have another shot on goal and this time, Belles’ sophomore goalkeeper Kara Stacey would save it. 

However, the Belles’ would not be able to hold back the Knights for much longer, and within the sixth minute of the game Calvin player Lindsey Houtsma would find the back of the net, setting the Belles back 1-0. 

Saint Mary’s would not allow for a complete Knight takeover, and for a stretch of time the Belles were able to maintain possession. However, they were unable to capitalize on an opportunity. In the eighteenth minute, Mia Judd capitalized on a corner kick by  Tatum Goodling to bring the Calvin lead 2-0.

The Belles would have the ball in scoring range multiple times throughout the match, however they were unable to ever find the back of the net. 

While their offensive side was weak, the Belles were able to keep up on the defensive end of the field. Within the thirty-third minute of the half, the Knights had another breakaway opportunity. However, freshman defender Lauren Ryan was able to stop it before the Knights had another scoring play. 

Possession would then return to the Belles, which would give senior forward Jillian Bowen a corner kick. While she was able to get it into the middle of the box, the Belles would prove unsuccessful again. 

While Saint Mary’s would have multiple scoring opportunities and hold possession for a decent portion of the remaining ten minutes, the halftime score sat at 2-0 Knights. 

The Belles’ defense came out hot in the second half. But again, they were only able to hold off the Knights for so long. By minute 58, Calvin had scored, increasing their lead 3-0. The Knights would have another scoring opportunity a few minutes later — this time, Stacey stopped the ball. Again, three minutes later, Stacey made another save to keep the score 3-0. 

The fourth and final goal for the Knights would come in minute 74. While the Belles then had a scoring chance, again they were unable to finish it. The Knights would end the game with a 4-0 advantage. 

After their loss to Trine, head coach Farkhod Kurbonov said, “The score is gonna get out of control.” But the Belles were able to keep the nationally-ranked team to only four goals. 

This is even more impressive when one accounts for the fact that the Knights had 27 shots to the Belles’ three. Stacey was also able to match her career high of 11 saves for the Belles, keeping them from a blowout loss. 

The Belles will return home to play Adrian on Saturday, Oct. 8. Saint Mary’s has played Adrian College practically every year since 1998 (excluding 2009 and 2020). At the moment, the Bulldogs have the advantage with 19 wins to Saint Mary’s 16. However, at home the Belles have won 9-8. The Bulldogs currently have a 5-4-2 schedule on the season. But the Belles will look to put a win to their record.

Kickoff begins at 2 p.m. EST. 

Contact Olivia Schatz at oschatz@nd.edu

Categories
Sports

Belles battle, lose 2-0 to Thunder

Entering the game with a 0-5-3 record, the Saint Mary’s soccer team had a daunting task ahead of them. Trine University had made it to the NCAA tournament last year, and before their matchup with the Belles, had a 4-3-1 record. While the Belles were unable to come out on top, they battled with the Thunder and held them to only 2 goals throughout the match. 

At the start, Trine came out hot, and within the first three minutes of play, the Thunder had a shot on goal. Saint Mary’s was quick to respond and got their first shot less than a minute later, but it was saved by Trine goalkeeper Sophie Aschemeier. The Belles were able to hold off the Thunder offense for 14 minutes. But ultimately, with just over 31 minutes left in the half, Trine was able to find the back of the net. For the rest of the half, both teams would take turns on shots. But, after 45 minutes of play, the score remained 1-0 Trine. 

The second half started similarly to the first. At the start, the Belles held Trine to only two early shots. But, with 28 minutes in the second half, the Thunder scored again, bringing their lead up to 2-0. Only a few minutes later, the Belles had the ball within scoring range. A foul put the ball back in Thunder position. Although this did not lead to anything, it showed the Belles were competing.

“We were competing with them,” said head coach Farkhod Kurbonov, “Second half we had five freshmen, at some point six freshmen, and they are playing against a team that went to nationals last year and beat nationally ranked teams. We’re giving them a lot of problems.” 

Even with the 2-0 deficit, the Belles did not go down without a fight. Sophomore forward Mary Kaczynski broke away with the ball, but her shot went high. The ball was back in Thunder possession. Possession would go back and forth for the next few minutes, after a goal kick by sophomore goalkeeper Kara Stacey. Again, the Belles were in scoring position but lost the opportunity. 

“Kara did a fantastic job,” Kurbonov said about his keeper, “What [the goalies] do in practice is unreal. I’m just very happy with them.”

 With 19 minutes left in the half, Trine had another attempt on goal. This time, senior defender Sophia Fleming stopped the break away. 

It wasn’t until 10 minutes left in the half that the Belles would get another break away. Senior forward Jillian Bowen would weave through the Thunder defense, but ultimately, her shot was saved by their goalie. After this shot, a sense of urgency would pass over the Belles offense. Despite having possession for a good portion of the last 10 minutes, the Belles were unable to do anything with it. 

The Belles’ schedule does not get easier. Their next matchup is against No. 13 Calvin, who currently have an 9-0-0 record. Kurbonov is satisfied with the work his squad is doing and the direction they are headed.

“We’re adjusting, and we are a very young team. If the girls on the team are not freshmen, they are sophomores.” Kurbonov said, “I think we’re going in the right direction, not the result for today, but overall I am satisfied with the amount of work the girls put on the field.” 

If the Belles’ hope to be successful for the rest of their season, they must look to score. In nine games, Saint Mary’s has only found the back of the net five times, while they have given up a total of 15 goals.  

The Belles are on the road next to face off against the Calvin on Tuesday at 7 p.m.