Belles Fall Short Against Panthers

Kate Kelly, pictured center wearing a navy blue uniform, prepares to shoot the ball with a defender nearby to the right in white.
ORANGE, Calif. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team fell in a nail-biting 14-12 final at Chapman on Monday afternoon.
The host Panthers established a 2-0 lead through the first 7:05 of play as the Belles opted to take a timeout. Erin Doyle and Kate Kelly each had scoring chances over the next eight-plus minutes of action before Kelly fed a pass to Molly Stout, who put Saint Mary's on the scoreboard with 13:10 on the clock. Chapman responded a minute later with a free position goal, but Saint Mary's forced a pair of turnovers and Emily Kraker came up with a pair of saves as the Belles stayed within striking distance. Erin Doyle pulled the visiting side within a goal with a free position strike with 7:26 remaining in the first period, but the Panthers responded with four quick goals in the span of three minutes to gain a 7-2 lead going into the halftime break.
Host Chapman opened the second half with a goal in the opening minute, but the Belles were undeterred as they faced an 8-2 deficit. Doyle won the next draw control, and Kelly scored 16 seconds later to put Saint Mary's right back in business. Bridget Kane picked up a ground ball deep in the Panthers' defensive end and assisted on another Erin Doyle goal to make it 8-4. Chapman got a goal back after a back-and-forth stretch of five minutes to regain a five-goal cushion with more than 22 minutes remaining on the clock. The Panthers quickly notched another goal for a 10-4 advantage, but the Belles continued to fight. Kelly picked up an assist on a goal by Erin Doyle, Kendra Osinski added a goal two minutes later, and Doyle sent home a free position shot with under 15 minutes to play to make it a 10-7 score.
Chapman won the next draw and scored quickly for an 11-7 lead, but the Belles wet on a tear over the next six minutes of action. Kate Kelly scored a free position goal before winning a draw control and scoring a minute later. Molly Stout struck two minutes later off of a feed from Kelly, and Erin Doyle drew the Belles even with under 10 minutes remaining after another Kelly draw and assist. Bridget Kane had a free position shot saved, but Rachel Ledyard picked up the ground ball and later scored on yet another assist by Kelly to give Saint Mary's their first lead at 12-11 with 8:29 to play. The defense came up with a big blocked shot on the next Panthers possession and were successful on the clear. Doyle and Stout each had a shot go wide around the six-minute mark. Chapman regained possession after the second shot, and the Panthers scored a minute and a half later to tie the game at 12-12 with 4:21 on the clock. Emily Kraker had a big save after Chapman won the next draw, but the Panthers put away the second-chance opportunity to go up 13-12 with under four minutes remaining. Rachael Leonard won the ensuing draw, but the Belles were unable to generate a scoring chance on the possession. Chapman won the ball back on a caused turnover and scored a free position goal with 46 seconds left for the final 14-12 margin.
Erin Doyle led all players with five goals. Kate Kelly set a program record with five assists while tallying three goals and eight ground balls. Molly Stout chipped in two goals, and Kendra Osinski had a goal and an assist. Rachel Ledyard netted her first career goal on her only shot of the game. Emily Kraker made 11 saves in goal for the Belles.

The Belles (2-2) have a break from competition tomorrow and close out their spring break trip with a 7:00 p.m. PDT contest against Redlands on Wednesday evening.