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Belles Topped by Tigers in Season Opener

Liv Heppeler carries the ball while an opposing player pursues the play.
GREENCASTLE, Ind. - The Saint Mary's lacrosse team fell in 23-16 final at DePauw on Sunday afternoon in the Belles' season opener.
The host Tigers struck first with a goal 2:03 into play, but the Belles answered back as Gabby Belsito notched the first goal of the season for Saint Mary's at the 4:18 mark. DePauw regained the lead less than a minute later. The Tigers then used three draw controls in a row to post three quick goals for a 5-1 advantage before building a 6-1 lead.
Erin Doyle found the net on back-to-back possessions by the Belles to cut the deficit to 6-3 with 17:17 still to play in the opening half. Emily Kraker came up with a big save on a free position shot by the Tigers on DePauw's next possession, but a free position goal a minute later was followed by another goal by the Tigers as the home side went ahead 8-3 midway through the period. Less than a minute later, Molly Mullett tallied her first collegiate goal on a free position opportunity. Mullutt then came away with the next draw control, and Erin Doyle buried a shot off of a pass by Shannon McCloskey to pull the Belles within 8-5 with 14:15 on the clock. Kraker made a pair of saves over the next three minutes of action, but Saint Mary's was unable to capitalize over that stretch of play. DePauw put the next two goals on the scoreboard to gain a 10-5 edge with under nine minutes to play in the first half. Doyle got the Belles back on track with a goal on a free position chance, but the Tigers responded with back-to-back goals again for a 12-5 lead.
Bridget Kane won the next draw control as the Belles saw strong scoring chances by Mullett and Kane hit the post and go wide left, respectively, over the next minute and a half of action. Doyle tallied her fifth goal of the half, and Kraker registered another save as the Belles worked to build some momentum late in the half. Another free position opportunity for Doyle saw the junior's shot go wide of the goal, but Kraker made a big save in the final minute to keep Saint Mary's within striking distance at the halftime break as the Tigers held the 12-7 advantage.
Kraker opened the second half with a save on a free position for the Tigers. The Belles had a successful clear the other way, but Shannon McCloskey and Bridget Kane both had shots on goal turned away by the DePauw goalie. The Tigers scored 4:51 into the period, but Doyle came up with a response 13 seconds later with a goal of her own. DePauw, however, put back-to-back goals on the scoreboard for a 15-8 lead. Kraker posted two more saves, and Bridget Kane buried her first goal of the year with 18:57 to play to make it 15-9. DePauw scored on a free position, but the Belles came back with back-to-back goals by Kendra Osinski and Sarah Frick to pull within five at 16-11 with almost 16 minutes to go. Saint Mary's was unable to edge any closer as DePauw registered four consecutive goals for a 20-11 lead.
Doyle, Belsito, and Kane combined to score five goals over the final 10:25 of play, but Saint Mary's was unable to overcome the early deficit in the 23-16 final.
Erin Doyle led the Belles with eight goals on nine shots and added four draw controls. The junior midfielder registered her 200th career goal, needing just 37 career contests to achieve the milestone. Gabby Belsito registered a hat trick for the first three-goal performance of her career. Bridget Kane tallied two goals, an assist, and five draw controls. Molly Mullett led the Belles with seven draw controls as she scored her first collegiate goal. Katie Haas and Liv Heppeler each picked up five ground balls, and Haas collected five draw controls along with an assist. Emily Kraker made 15 saves in goal for the Belles.
Saint Mary's (0-1) travels to Wisconsin this upcoming weekend as they face off against Carthage on Saturday, February 29 at 1:00 p.m. CST.