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Balanced Belles Beat Knights

Liv Heppeler runs past an opposing play while cradling the ball in her stick.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team used a 7-0 run midway through the first half and never looked back on their way to a 19-10 win over Calvin on Friday afternoon.
The two sides traded goals back and forth to open play. Erin Doyle caused a turnover on the defend. Raigan Althouse then fed a nearly-perfect pass to a cutting Kendra Osinski, who buried the shot from close range for a 1-0 lead 3:58 into play. The Knights responded with a free position goal less than a minute later, but the Belles capitalized on a player-up chance with a free position goal by Kate Kelly 6:45 into action for a 2-1 lead. Calvin won the next draw and scored quickly on a free position chance of their own to knot the game with 22:39 on the clock.
Kate Kelly gave the Belles the lead back with 21:23 on a goal as the senior co-captain helped kick start a game-changing scoring run. Emily Kraker came up with big back-to-back saves, and Bridget Kane went coast-to-coast for a goal with under 20 minutes remaining on the clock. Kane won the next draw, and Erin Doyle got on the score sheet with a free position goal. Doyle then took care of the next possession quickly by winning the draw and scoring 29 seconds later to make it 6-2 as Calvin called for a timeout with 18:33 on the clock.
Liv Heppeler and Sarah Frick each caused a turnover and picked up a ground ball over the next stretch of play before Molly Stout connected with Shannon McCloskey as McCloskey rattled the cage with her first goal of the game. Bridget Kane struck again, and Kate Kelly buried a shot off of a pass from Kane as the Belles built a 9-2 lead with 15:41 remaining in the first half.
The Knights broke up the scoring spurt with a goal a minute later, and Calvin scored another goal with 7:20 on the clock to make it 9-4. Kane, however, put a stop to any big run by the Knights with a free position goal. A stretch of back-and-forth play ended in a goal by Calvin with 2:22 remaining to push the score to 10-5. Saint Mary's, however, took the momentum going into the halftime break as McCloskey scored her second goal of the game, this time on an empty net free position chance after the Calvin goalie committed a foul in the critical scoring area, to make it 11-5 at the break. Kraker closed out the period with a big stop to ensure the Belles held the six-goal lead at the midway point.
Kendra Osinski opened the second half with a goal, and McCloskey hit Osinski in transition with a strong leading pass as the junior buried a shot from outside of the goal circle to push the Saint Mary's lead to 13-5. The Belles won the draw, and Raigan Althouse rattled the cage with a close-range goal off of a feed from Molly Stout to push the advantage to 14-5. The Knights got a goal back two and a half minutes later, but Doyle responded with a goal on the next Saint Mary's possession.
A loose ball after a save by Kraker turned into a goal for Calvin, but Althouse returned the favor to Stout with a good pass as Stout put the Belles up 16-7. The defense continued to be key for the Saint Mary's effort on the day with Kraker making yet another save while the Belles knocked down a free position shot a short while later. Erin Doyle then put the Saint Mary's side up by ten goals as the sophomore sent home a free position goal midway through the period.
Calvin halted the running clock with consecutive goals with under ten minutes remaining in the game to push the score to 17-9 with 4:41 to play. Bridget Kane scored just 34 seconds later, and Raigan Althouse capped off her hat trick with a goal with 3:18 on the clock to again implement the running clock at 19-9. The Knights scored on a free position chance with 45 seconds on the clock as the Belles prevailed with the 19-10 win on the road.
Seven different players scored at least one goal for the balanced offensive attack for Saint Mary's. Bridget Kane popped off four goals, an assist, five draw controls, three caused turnovers, and a ground ball. Erin Doyle added four goals to break her own single-season scoring record with 95 on the year. Raigan Althouse tallied a hat trick with three goals and an assist, and Kate Kelly posted a hat trick of her own with three goals to go along with four draw controls and three caused turnovers as she moved into first place all-time in career caused turnovers.
Kendra Osinski had two goals and two assists, and Shannon McCloskey tallied two goals and an assist. Molly Stout posted a goal and an assist. Liv Heppeler had a career-high six ground balls. Rachael Leonard collected four caused turnovers and four ground balls. Emily Kraker registered 11 saves in goal and had two ground balls in the win.
The Belles (10-5, 6-0 MIAA) return home on Wednesday to host Adrian at 6:00 p.m.