Belles Fall in Hard-Fought Battle Against Maroons

Emily Kraker watches a shot go into her stick as three opposing players are visible in the foreground.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team came up short in a 16-10 final in a tight battle against the University of Chicago on Sunday.
The Belles got on the scoreboard first as Erin Doyle found the back of the net in transition 3:34 into the game for the early lead. The Maroons got a goal three minutes later on a free position chance, but Saint Mary's found a quick response. Kate Kelly caused a turnover and Kendra Osinski had an initial shot saved before scoring on the loose rebound for a 2-1 lead with 22:13 on the clock.
Chicago, however, struck a minute later and added another goal at 17:36 to gain their first lead at 3-2. Emily Kraker had a big save, but the Maroons converted another free position attempt a short while later to make it 4-2. A third-consecutive goal with 10:39 by Chicago made it a 5-2 game. Kraker had three big saves, including a save on a free position shot, over the next four minutes to keep the Belles right in the mix. After the third save, the Belles got back in the scoring column as Kate Kelly sent home a shot with 5:42 remaining in the half.
The Maroons scored their second free position goal of the game with under four minutes on the clock, but Erin Doyle responded with a free position goal of her own less than a minute later to make it 6-4. Chicago, however, extended their lead to three goals with another free position goal with two minutes on the clock. With the clock winding down and the Maroons pushing to get a late score, Kraker again came up with a stop with 15 seconds on the clock as the game went to halftime with Chicago leading 7-4.
A transition goal by Molly Stout off of a feed from Kate Kelly in the opening minute of the second half put the Belles within two at 7-5. Kraker stuffed a pair of free position shots and added another save to keep Saint Mary's within striking distance of Chicago, but a Kendra Osinski shot hit the post and Bridget Kane had a shot blocked. The Maroons capitalized on a turnover by the Belles and scored with 23:48 on the clock for an 8-5 advantage.
Both goalies made a pair of saves over the next five minutes of action as the clock moved below the 19-minute mark. The last of those four combined saves was a stop by Kraker, and Erin Doyle connected with Osinski at the other end less than 30 seconds later as Osinski buried her second goal of the game to pull Saint Mary's within two at 8-6.
The Maroons, however, rattled off four consecutive goals over the next 4:24 of play to take a 12-6 lead with 13:47 on the clock. Kendra Osinski scored on a free position attempt with 12:41 remaining, and Shannon McCloskey registered an assist as Osinski struck again less than a minute later to cut the deficit to four at 12-8. Chicago used a free position chance 1:36 later to gain a 13-8 lead, and the Maroons posted two more goals over the next three minutes go grow their lead to a game-high seven goals with 7:15 to play.
Saint Mary's continued to battle down the stretch. Erin Doyle found the back of the net with 3:54 on the clock to break up the Chicago scoring spurt. Rachel Ledyard then bounced in a tough shot 30 seconds later to make it a 15-10 game. The Maroons, however, scored a goal with 2:48 to play, and the Belles were unable to edge any closer as the game ended by the 16-10 margin.
Kendra Osinski led Saint Mary's with four goals. Erin Doyle posted three goals and an assist. Kate Kelly had game-highs of 12 draw controls and six caused turnovers to go along with six ground balls, two assists, and a goal. Molly Stout and Rachel Ledyard each tallied a goal, and Shannon McCloskey added an assist. Rachael Leonard became the third player in program history to surpass 200 career ground balls as the senior collected five in the game. She also caused three turnovers on defense. Bridget Kane had six ground balls for the Belles. Emily Kraker made 13 saves in goal.
The Belles (7-5) resume conference play on Wednesday, April 10 when they travel to Kalamazoo for a 7:00 p.m. contest against the Hornets.