FRONTENAC • Frustrating would-be goal scorers is one of Angelina Kelly’s favorite pastimes.
“I really like the action, especially when I make a save,” the standout Marquette goalie said.
Tuesday afternoon at Villa Duchesne, Kelly was smack dab in her element, kicking wave after wave of good scoring chances aside. Every time it appeared the senior might finally cave from the onslaught, she came up big or her defense cleared the ball away.
The Saints peppered the Marquette goalie with 42 shots -- 26 in the second half. Seniors Ali Hennessey and Abbie Brennan finally found the back of the net in the second half in Villa’s 2-0 victory.
“We had a million corners and couldn’t get the ball in the cage,” first-year Villa coach Meredith Rull said. “We kept pushing and pushing it in there. Finishing is something we need to work on.”
Rull said the squad got its usual solid play in the middle of the field from seniors Grace Leeker and Lucy Sheahan and juniors Cooper Hudspeth and Lindsay Dames. Hudspeth was a key figure all afternoon, as she assisted on both goals.
Hennessey broke the ice when she knocked in a rebound off a Hudspeth shot four minutes into the second half. Seven minutes later -- on one of Marquette’s few good scoring chances -- Carly Ryan broke in alone on Villa goalie Maggie Grzeskoviak but slid her shot wide to the left.
With just 6:32 to play, Brennan gave the Saints some breathing room. Hudspeth broke away down the center of the field and slipped a pass to left forward Brennan, who tipped it past Kelly.
By the end of the first half, Brennan and the senior-laden Saints were a little surprised to be in a scoreless tie.
“I didn’t think this was going to be one of our harder teams, but obviously it was,” Brennan said. “There was a lot of frustration. At halftime, our coach really had to calm us down in order for us to get back in the zone.”
Marquette coach Rick Regina was pleased with the effort, which he said came against one of the area’s best teams.
“I felt like we played well, but they played a little better,” Regina said. “The ball seemed to stop on their stick, and it didn’t seem to stop on ours. … We weren’t doing a good enough job in second half and even in the second part of the first half of getting the ball wide on our free hits coming out. We were hitting it right at their sticks, and it kind of jammed us up a bit.”
Regina praised Kelly for keeping the Mustangs in the game.
“I told her at the end that I thought it was the best game she’s ever played,” Regina said. “There were some saves I don’t know how she made. It could have been a 7-0 game.”
It was a successful debut for Rull, who was tabbed to replace a popular coach from last season. Hennessey said she feels like the Saints are gelling under the new coach.
“It was good for the first game,” Hennessey said. “We’ve really come together. We still have a lot of progress to make, but we came out pretty strong.”