The disappointment from falling Friday to rival Limestone clearly affected the Bellarmine University field hockey team on Saturday at Owsley B. Frazier Stadium, but the Knights showed enough resilience to capture a 3-1 victory over Belmont Abbey.
Senior midfielder Anna O’Toole, senior forward Kelsey O’Bryan and junior midfielder Elle Lichte each collected goals for Bellarmine (6-4), while sophomore midfielder Dana Hemingway, senior midfielder Aimee Ilgenfritz and junior defender Sara Wilder all tallied an assist against the Crusaders (2-6), who are in their first season of field hockey. Junior defender Mary Ringwald notched her fifth defensive save of the season.
Bellarmine met Belmont Abbey less than a day after suffering a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss in overtime to Limestone. Similar to last season’s Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament finals loss, the Knights could not hold a lead in the waning minutes against the Saints and fell in an extra session. They recovered Saturday to take a 2-0 halftime lead and responded when Belmont Abbey cut their lead in half with around 12 minutes left.
“We were coming off an emotional loss, but we played well enough to win,” Bellarmine Coach Mark Blankenbaker said. “Today was real emotional. There wasn’t enough time to recover from the loss last night.”
Bellarmine recovered enough to take a 2-0 lead at the intermission on a pair of goals in the 28th minute. Hemingway crossed toward the far post to O’Toole, who poked the ball into the net for her fifth goal of the season and a 1-0 advantage.
Only 44 seconds later, Bellarmine located the net again. Ilgenfritz slipped a pass in front of the goal to O’Bryan, who tapped it in for her fourth goal of the season and a 2-0 lead. That score would prove to be the game-winner.
Belmont Abbey cut its deficit to 2-1 in the 59th minute, but Lichte restored the two-goal cushion when she converted a pass from the left wing from Wilder in the 66th minute. It was Lichte’s second score of the season.
Bellarmine dominated the shot count, 25-3, including 18-3 in shots on goal. Anna Fleetwood racked up 14 saves for the Crusaders. Freshman goalkeeper Heather Gregory earned the first win of her collegiate career in the cage.
“Our skill level was strong; we just didn’t finish,” Blankenbaker said. “We played with a lot of effort.”
Bellarmine will host Saint Thomas Aquinas and Lindenwood next weekend.
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by Adam Pruiett