NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's soccer team ended on the short side of a 4-0 final against Hanover on Tuesday evening.
The Belles had some high pressure against the Panthers early in the game. In the sixth minute, Rose Stackhouse sent a well-paced cross from the right endline all the way across the face of the goal and through the box, but the Belles were unable to get a runner on the receiving end of the pass in time. A minute later, Sophie Bubnar put a dangerous pass into the box only to see her effort intercepted by the Hanover goalkeeper.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard in the ninth minute of play, but the Belles countered with an extended offensive possession in the 18th minute. Bubnar won a 50-50 ball on a clear by Becca Stella before shaking off two defenders near the center circle and beating the pair in a footrace upfield. Bubnar and Stackhouse played a pair of passes off of one another before Stackhouse centered the ball to Lexi Trombly at the top of the 18-yard box. Trombly tried to drop a pass back to Kellen Hinchey, but the pass was picked off by a defender to end the threat.
Hanover added to their lead in the 21st minute with a goal. Saint Mary's continued to fight for opportunities on the offensive end. With just under 15 minutes remaining in the half, Bubnar had a strong cross into the box from the left side of the field. Abby Schmidt was making a run into the box toward the near post on the play, but Schmidt's redirection of the ball went wide left. In the final five minutes of play in the half, Madison Jurgovan played a well-weighted pass from midfield between two defenders for Lexi Trombly to run onto with space deep in the offensive end. Trombly picked up the pass inside the 18-yard box and took a touch back to her left to allow a defender to run past her, but her cut-back move played back into a defender dropping back into the play as she was unable to get off a shot.
The Panthers scored less than two minutes into the second period of play to extend their lead to 3-0. Twelve minutes later, Rose Stackhouse had a one-on-one opportunity along the endline stopped short as the Belles continued to battle. With just under 30 minutes remaining in regulation, Stackhouse again fought past the defense before crossing the ball into the box for Trombly, but the defender was able to barely get between Trombly and the ball to deflect the cross out of the box and away from goal. Hanover tallied their fourth goal in the 82nd minute for a 4-0 lead. As the waning seconds of the game ticked off the clock, the Belles put together one last push toward goal Trombly played a ball up the right side for Ashley Hernandez with under 30 seconds remaining. Hernandez played a well-paced ball across the ground and past a defender into the box toward Elizabeth Schulte, who was making the near-post run. Once again, however, a defender was able to clear the ball away before Saint Mary's could capitalize.
Abby Schmidt had two shots on the night for the Belles while Sophie Bubnar, Rose Stackhouse, and Lexi Trombly each tallied one shot. Thallia Robles made eight saves before Dorah Floyd closed out the final six minutes of play in goal.
The Belles (1-4) are back on the pitch on Friday when they host Manchester at 7:00 p.m.