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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's falls to Albion on Senior Recognition Day

Saint Mary’s dropped its first conference game of the season to Albion on Saturday, 14-4, in the South Bend heat.

The Britons (5-6, 4-0 MIAA) jumped out to an early start on Senior Recognition Day, taking a quick three goal lead, against Belles junior captain and goalkeeper Shannon Weyer. Weyer had been in goal for each of the Belles’ conference games thus far and had held MIAA opponents to a combined total of 13 goals for the season.

Saint Mary’s (6-6, 3-1) struck back quickly as junior captain and attack/midfielder Emilie Vanneste scored the Belles’ first goal of the game, assisted by sophomore attack Hanna Makowski. It was the St. Petersburg, Florida, native’s 21st goal of the season.

Makowski added to her success by scoring the next goal for St. Mary’s, her tenth on the season, bringing the game to a score of 4-2.

The Britons took control again, however, as they proceeded to score three consecutive goals. The Belles put up a solid defensive effort in an attempt to slow the Britons’ momentum, including multiple forced turnovers by sophomore defender Liana O’Grady, freshman midfielder Kate Kelly, senior attack Teresa Guerrero and Vanneste. However, Albion’s strong offense proved difficult to stop and the Belles’ offensive attempts were stifled by Britons senior goalkeeper Victoria Della Pia.

The Belles’ leading scorer and sophomore midfielder Clare Theisen made her team’s next offensive move as she was able to score her 34th goal of the year with an assist by Kelly. Theisen’s goal was the Belles’ final goal of the first period, which ended with a score of 8-3.

Saint Mary’s struggled in the second period, only scoring one goal in the final half of the game. After a tough first half, Weyer was replaced in goal with freshman Cara Givens, who had not seen playing time since the Belles’ loss to North Central on April 2.

Givens was able to hold the Britons to six goals in the second period, but the Belles offense struggled to generate much going forward. Sophomore midfielder Mary Grace Heller scored the Belles’ lone goal of the second half about halfway through the period, bringing the team to a total of four goals on the day.

The Belles’ 14-4 loss came on the same day as Senior Recognition Day. Although it is only the lacrosse program’s third season, there are two seniors on the team: Guerrero and defender Kristen Whalen.

Guerrero, a West Chicago, Illinois, native, has played on the team since its inception. The attack started every game during her sophomore year and started 11 contests during her junior year.

Whalen, who is originally from Shawnee, Kansas, has also played lacrosse for the Belles for the past three years, winning the Most Spirited Player Award in her sophomore year. She picked up 16 ground balls in the team’s first year, which she improved to 26 ground balls the next year.

The Belles will look to recover from the loss to the Britons on Tuesday, when they will face off against Calvin. The Belles are currently ranked one spot above the Knights (5-5, 2-1) in the MIAA rankings.

The two teams will go head-to-head Tuesday at 5 p.m. The game will take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.