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First Half Sets Belles Back Against Pioneers

Kate Kelly, pictured on the right in a white uniform, prepares for a draw control against an opposing player in an orange uniform.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The visiting side from Carroll University opened the game on a 9-1 scoring run and the Saint Mary's lacrosse team could not overcome the deficit in a 16-9 final on Saturday afternoon.
The Pioneers scored less than two minutes into the contest before doubling their lead with 24:54 on the clock. Kate Kelly threaded a tight pass to Erin Doyle, and the sophomore sent one past the Pioneers' goalie to make it a 2-1 game less than a minute later. Carroll, however, responded by rattling off the next seven goals of the game over a span of almost ten minutes to claim a 9-1 lead.
Saint Mary's fought back and began to sway the momentum back in their favor. Kendra Osinski capitalized on an extra-player opportunity with a free position goal at 8:53. A short while later, Sarah Frick caused a turnover, and Bridget Kane collected the ground ball. Erin Doyle then found a way through the defense for her second goal of the game. The Pioneers got a goal back almost three minutes later, but a pair of late goals in the half put the Belles right back in business. Rachael Leonard caused a turnover in the midfield, and Doyle scored quickly in transition with under two minutes remaining. The sophomore then converted a free position opportunity into a goal with 58 seconds on the clock to make it a 10-5 game at the half.
Kate Kelly sent home a free position goal early in the second half, and Kelly and Doyle connected for another goal 30 seconds later as the Belles edged within 10-7 with 27:36 still on the clock. The Pioneers came back with a goal at the 26:53 mark, but both sides battled evenly for the next ten-plus minutes of action. One of the best scoring chances for Saint Mary's came on a transition opportunity. Erin Doyle caused a turnover on the defensive end and gained possession of the ground ball. Doyle then played a long pass ahead to Shannon McCloskey. McCloskey had a step on her defender as she raced toward the goal. The freshman fired a close-range shot toward the far post only to have the chance bounce off of the post. Emily Kraker came up with a key save as both sides continued to force turnovers. The Pioneers eventually broke up the scoreless stretch with a goal with 15:38 to play. Carroll added two more goals for a 14-7 lead with less than 13 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Belles continued to battle down the stretch. Kelly had another tight pass in the critical scoring area rewarded with an assist as Molly Stout buried a shot from just outside the goal circle with 12:21 to go. The Pioneers halted any kind of momentum swing with a pair of quick goals at 11:29 and 11:02. The final ten minutes was another evenly-fought battle as neither side could find a way to break through into the scoring column. In the closing minute of the contest, Kendra Osinski found the back of the net for the Belles with 23 seconds to play as the game ended by that same 16-9 margin.
The Belles out-shot the Pioneers 28-23 in the contest with a 14-9 advantage in the second half. Saint Mary's collected 38 ground balls to Carroll's 35, and the Belles had 16 draw controls to the Pioneers' 11.
Erin Doyle led the Belles with five goals. Kate Kelly collected 11 draw controls, five caused turnovers, nine ground balls, a goal, and three assists. Kendra Osinski notched two goals, and Molly Stout added a goal of her own. Rachael Leonard caused five turnovers and picked up six ground balls. Andie Srdoc chipped in five ground balls, and Bridget Kane collected four ground balls and three draw controls. Emily Kraker made four saves in goal.
The Belles (3-4) are back at home on Wednesday, March 27 when they host Carthage at 7:00 p.m.