ALBION, Mich. - The Saint Mary's soccer team ended on the short side of a 3-1 final at Albion in both teams' conference opener on Wednesday evening.
The Brits struck twice early in the opening period of play to quickly gain the lead and momentum in the contest. Albion notched a goal in the sixth minute and added a second strike in the 12th minute for the advantage. The Belles were undeterred in their efforts despite the deficit as Rose Stackhouse and Sophie Bubnar each put a shot on goal a short while later. Stackhouse and Haylee Shahan fired back-to-back shots in the 21st and 22nd minute of play, and Elizabeth Schulte put an effort on-frame as Saint Mary's looked to get right back into the thick of things.
Delaney Rohlman came up with five consecutive saves on the next five Albion shots on goal, and the defense blocked a pair of shots in the 35th minute of play. At the other end of the field, Alexis Hernandez had an effort of her own blocked by the Brits' defense. In the 39th minute of play, Albion added a third goal to extend their lead. In the waning moments of the half, Madison Jurgovan fired a shot on goal from the Belles only to have the attempt saved by the Albion goalkeeper.
The Belles played toe-to-toe with the Brits throughout the game, but the second half in particular was quite evenly competed as both sides had five shots with Saint Mary's having a 4-2 edge in shots on goal over the final 45 minutes of play. Rose Stackhouse had an all-but-certain goal saved by the Albion defense in the 54th minute.
Schulte added another shot on goal, and Kellen Hinchey had a shot go wide left as the Saint Mary's side continued to fight. In the 83rd minute, Abby Schmidt threaded a well-paced ball through the defense for Lexi Trombly. Trombly fired a shot from inside the 18-yard box as it looked as though the effort would find the far post, but a diving deflection by the Albion goalkeeper saw the ball go just wide of the goal. Less than three minutes later, the Belles were able to break through as Alexis Hernandez had a mid-range blast from just outside of the 18-yard box sail over the Brits' goalkeeper and under the crossbar for the sophomore's first goal for the Belles. A late push by Saint Mary's saw a scoring opportunity halted with an offside call as the game ended by the 3-1 margin.
Saint Mary's (4-6, 0-1 MIAA) returns home for a non-conference match on Saturday against Rockford beginning at 1:00 p.m.