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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

Belles lacrosse stays hot, wins third straight

The Saint Mary’s Belles entered the year on a mission to defend their MIAA women's lacrosse title. The Belles finished last year with a 6-1 conference record before sweeping through the tournament.

And while it's a new season, it's been more of the same for the Belles.

Saint Mary’s (7-4, 3-0 MIAA) won their third straight contest Tuesday evening, taking down Kalamazoo (7-7, 1-3) by a final score of 23-15. The win puts the Belles into a tie with Albion atop the conference standings — both programs have 3-0 record. The two teams play Thursday evening at 7 PM.

The Belles have been in some thrillers lately. They won their first conference game in a 24-23 instant classic. Then, they needed a fourth-quarter comeback for their second conference victory. However, no such drama ensued on Tuesday. Saint Mary's jumped all over the Hornets for 12 goals in the first quarter. The outburst staked the Belles to a 12-4 lead. That allowed them to cruise to the finish line by the same eight-goal margin in a stress-free win.

Four players did most of the damage for the Belles. Senior midfielders Katie Haas, Bridget Kane and Gabby Belsito combined for 14 goals. However, the standout of the night was junior midfielder Erin Dotson. She blasted Kalamazoo for five goals and five assists on the night, torching the Hornets all game. The Belles also forced 29 turnovers, hassling Kalamazoo’s offensive playmakers all night. Saint Mary’s led by at least six goals all game after taking a 9-3 lead in the first quarter.

Belsito and Dotson got the scoring started early, notching goals in the first 61 seconds. Then, after a Kalamazoo goal, Haas found the back of the net three times in a 2-minute and 22-second span, mixed with another Belsito tally to earn a 6-1 advantage. After the Hornets narrowed the gap to 7-3, the Belles ripped off a 5-0 run. Five different players scored, with Dotson notching two assists as the Belles basically put the game away early.

From there on out, the game felt like a formality. The closest things got were at the beginning of the third quarter, as Kalamazoo scored the first two goals of the period to make it 16-10. However, Dotson scored twice to spark a quick 3-0 surge and get the score back to 19-10. That was the only time the Hornets notched more than two goals in a row. The Belles saw the result out from there to move to 3-0 in conference play.

Saint Mary’s plays for an early edge in the conference standings against Albion on Thursday. They then play last-place Adrian on Saturday.