RICHMOND, Ind. - The Saint Mary's soccer team came up just short in a 3-2 final at Earlham on Sunday afternoon.
The Belles struck early to gain a lead in the opening three minutes of play. Rose Stackhouse carried the ball ahead into the offensive end, cut outside and then back inside, and fired a shot inside the right post from the top of the 18-yard box to put Saint Mary's up 1-0 just 2:08 into play.
The Belles continued to apply the pressure against the Quakers' back line as Ashley Hernandez, Stackhouse, and Becca Stella each registered a shot on goal over the next 18 minutes of play. Lexi Trombly added a shot which carried over the crossbar, the the Belles had a potential breakaway chance halted for an offside flag.
The host Quakers got on the scoreboard in the 26th minute and gained a lead in the 39th minute of action. The Belles had a corner kick late in the half that was cut off by the Earlham goalkeeper. The Quakers tried to counter attack off of that same play, but Thallia Robles came off of her line and won a challenge at the top of the 18-yard box to clear the ball away as the score stood at a 2-1 margin at the halftime break.
Stackhouse continued to give the Earlham backline trouble to begin the second period as the freshman made a move around a defender before having a strong shot on the left side of the box saved. Less than four minutes later, the Quakers were whistled for a handball in their defensive 18-yard box to give Saint Mary's a penalty kick. Stackhouse confidently sent the PK into the back of the net from the spot as the Belles knotted the game at 2-2 with 38:49 still remaining in regulation.
The Quakers, however, regained the lead less than ten minutes later after the hosts played a ball from the flank into the box with a header back across the face of the goal and in with 29:19 on the clock.
Looking to find the equalizer in the final stretch of play, Saint Mary's put together some strong scoring opportunities. Stackhouse earned a free kick just outside the 18 near the endline on the left side of the field, but the resulting play into the box was cleared away by the defense. A pair of corner kicks were likewise defended by the Quakers in the 62nd and 77th minutes of play. The best scoring chance of that stretch came with under 12 minutes remaining on the clock. Stackhouse again found herself with the ball near the end line and worked her way around a defender with a small amount of space between her and the post. The freshman sent a ball toward the goal but the effort resulted in the ball sailing just over the crossbar and out of play.
Rose Stackhouse led the Belles with two goals, four shots on goal, and five total shots on the day. Becca Stella had two shots with one on goal, and Ashley Hernandez added a shot on goal. Thallia Robles made six saves on the day.
The Belles (0-2) continue their road stretch to open the 2018 season when they travel to Defiance on Wednesday, September 5 for a 4:30 p.m. contest.