NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's soccer team claimed a 2-0 win over Bluffton on Saturday afternoon.
The Belles had a pair of early scoring chances. Ashley Hernandez fired a bending shot from the right side of the 18-yard box in the seventh minute only to see the effort caught just inside the near post by the Bluffton goalkeeper. Rose Stackhouse and Sophie Bubnar each put a shot on goal in succession just a minute later as the offense put the pressure on early. In the 23rd minute, Saint Mary's broke through for the first goal of the game. Maya Cole played a ball across the middle to Madison Jurgovan, and Jurgovan played a pass ahead on the left side for Bubnar. Bubnar settled the pass before finding the back-right corner of the netting for her fourth goal of the year.
With just under 12 minutes remaining on the clock in the period, Haylee Shahan served a dangerous pass from the right side into the box toward Rose Stackhouse, who was making a diagonal run through the box. Before Stackhouse could get to the ball, the Beavers' goalkeeper cut in front of the freshman and intercepted the pass to keep the game at 1-0. In the waning moments of the half, Saint Mary's had another strong chance to get on the scoreboard. Stackhouse took possession away from Bluffton and carried the ball ahead a few yards before slotting a pass into space for Bubnar. The freshman, however, had her effort saved just off the goal line.
Bluffton's first scoring chance was a big opportunity for the Beavers. A turnover at the top of the 18-yard box gave a Bluffton player a breakaway chance, but Thallia Robles came off of her line and made a diving save at the six-yard box to keep the Beavers off the scoreboard. Bluffton opened the second period with a handful of shots on goal and shots off frame, but the Saint Mary's defense was up to the challenge each time to prevent the Beavers from drawing even. In the 62nd minute, Lindsey Herdsman had a well-placed throw-in from the left side of the field, which allowed Sophie Bubnar to pick up the ball with several yards of space. Bubnar carried the ball upfield before threading a pass to Rose Stackhouse. Stackhouse continued her run while collecting the pass, sent a shot back across the goal, and found the inside of the far post to make it a 2-0 lead.
In the final ten minutes of play, Elizabeth Schulte served a pass from the left side of the field into the box toward Stackhouse. The freshman settled the ball and took a touch, but her ensuing shot was blocked just outside of the six-yard box as the game ended by the 2-0 margin.
Sophie Bubnar had the game-winning goal and picked up an assist on the Belles' insurance goal to lead the offense. Rose Stackhouse sent home her team-leading eighth goal of the season. Madison Jurgovan, Maya Cole, and Lindsey Herdsman each collected an assist. Thallia Robles made four saves en route to the shutout victory in goal.
The Belles (4-5) open MIAA play on Wednesday when they travel to Albion for a 7:00 p.m. contest against the Brits.