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Second-Half Surge Helps Belles Power Past Bulldogs

Rachael Leonard runs up the field while cradling the lacrosse ball in her stick.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Leading 6-2 at halftime, the Saint Mary's lacrosse team opened the second half on a 7-0 scoring run to put the game out of reach as the Belles claimed a 19-3 victory over Adrian on Wednesday evening.
After a pair of saves by the Adrian goalie to start the game, the Belles were able to break through when Bridget Kane scored on a free position opportunity in the opening minute of play. Saint Mary's took advantage of a turnover by the Bulldogs on their next possession, and Raigan Althouse connected with Erin Doyle as Doyle rattled the cage with her first goal of the game just over a minute later. The Belles got a little help from the post on Adrian's first good scoring chance of the day as a shot rattled off the metal and bounced away. Emily Kraker made a save on a free position shot two minutes later, and Kate Kelly found the back of the net off of a pass from Molly Stout with 23:41 on the clock for a 3-0 lead.
Adrian countered quickly with a goal less than a minute later, but Doyle came back with a goal with 21:04 on the clock to give the Belles a three-goal advantage. The Bulldogs' goalie made another big save less than a minute later as the game progressed. Scoring chances were few and far between over the next six minutes of action as neither team put a shot on goal. With under 14 minutes remaining in the half, Emily Kraker made a save to keep Adrian off the scoreboard. The Belles then had a successful clear before Kate Kelly wove her way through traffic and scored a close-range goal for a 5-1 Saint Mary's lead with 12:59 on the clock.
Less than two minutes later, Kraker again made a stop on an Adrian free position shot. The Belles pushed the ball up the field quickly, and Raigan Althouse converted a pass from Gabby Belsito to make it 6-1. Both goalies had key saves for their sides over the next ten minutes of play as the clock moved below the one-minute mark in the period. Kraker made her fifth save of the half, but the Bulldogs collected the loose ball and scored with 35 seconds remaining in the period to make it a 6-2 game at the halftime break.
Kendra Osinski quickly put the Belles on the scoreboard in the second half with a free position goal 1:35 into the period. That helped kick-start a key 7-0 scoring run for Saint Mary's. Osinski put the next two goals on the scoreboard, and Molly Stout buried a quick-stick shot from just outside the goal circle to make it 10-2 with 24:07 on the clock. Bridget Kane sent home a free position goal of her own two minutes later, and Osinski scored less than 20 seconds later to push the score to 12-2. Gabby Belsito registered the seventh goal of the scoring run with a free position goal as the Belles built a 13-2 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining in the period.
The Bulldogs got a goal back after winning the ensuing draw control and scoring on a close-range shot from inside the critical scoring area. The Belles, however, put the game well out of reach with six goals in a span of nearly 13 minutes for the 19-3 final. Osinski, Doyle, Shannon McCloskey, and Gabby Belsito each scored in that final run of the game for Saint Mary's.
The Belles out-shot the Bulldogs by a 41-14 margin as Emily Kraker and the defense held Adrian to an 0-of-3 day on free position shots.
Kendra Osinski and Erin Doyle led the offensive efforts with five goals each. Doyle became the first player in program history to score 100 goals in a single season as the sophomore also added five ground balls, three caused turnovers, and two draw controls. Kate Kelly had two goals, three assists, six draw controls, seven ground balls, and two caused turnovers. Bridget Kane posted two goals, an assist, four draw controls, and three caused turnovers. Raigan Althouse collected a goal, three assists, and three ground balls on the day. Gabby Belsito buried two goals, Molly Stout had a goal and an assist, and Shannon McCloskey had a goal for the Belles.
Emily Kraker made five saves - all in the first half - on her way to the win in goal as the Belles held the Bulldogs without a shot on goal in the second half of play. Rachael Leonard matched her program record with 11 ground balls while also causing four turnovers. Sarah Frick had four ground balls, and Liv Heppeler picked up a pair of ground balls.
The Belles (11-5, 7-0 MIAA) close out the regular season with a home game against Albion starting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 26 in a contest which will determine the MIAA Championship.