WORCESTER, Mass. (Oct. 23, 2010) – First year forward Stephanie Slysz knocked in the winner 6:51 into overtime to lift the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team to a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over Clark University this afternoon at Granger Field. With the win, the Lyons clinched a spot in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament for the 12th year in a row. It was their fourth in a row and fifth in their last six outings.
Both sides went scoreless until the 22:23 mark, when junior Jess Fajardo scored off a feed from Slysz. The forward found the back of the cage again just over seven minutes later to push the Lyons' lead to 2-0. Her fourth tally of the year came off of a penalty corner set. Classmate Tricia Chase was credited with the assist on the play.
Clark (9-6, 2-5 NEWMAC) finally broke through in the final minute of the first half, when junior midfielder Meghan Lennon set up a goal by first year forward Talia Fish.
Fish then recorded the equalizer off a pass from senior defender Katherine Rowe in the 55th minute.
Both teams had excellent chances in the early stages of overtime. At one end, Clark goalkeeper Kate McGrath turned away an attempt by sophomore defender Stephanie Pascual. Meanwhile, Mount Holyoke netminder Katie Gibson sent back consecutive shots from point blank range at the other end.
Slysz then posted her second career winner in the 82nd minute to seal things for the Lyons. After collecting the ball, she broke in alone and fired a low shot past McGrath. The rookie has now recorded goals in each of Mount Holyoke's last six matches. Over that span, she has found the back of the cage seven times to bring her season total to eight.
The Lyons outshot Clark 13-7 and finished with an overwhelming 22-5 advantage in penalty corner chances. Gibson amassed four saves, while McGrath had nine.
Mount Holyoke (9-5, 4-3 NEWMAC) will return to action on Wednesday, when it visits the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for a non-conference clash beginning at 5:30 p.m.