SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Nov. 1, 2011) – Senior forward Shara Robertson found the back of the cage with 1:15 remaining in regulation to boost the Mount Holyoke field hockey team to a dramatic 2-1 triumph over Springfield College this evening at Stagg Field. The match began on Saturday but was halted with 12:43 remaining due to a massive snowstorm.
With the win, Mount Holyoke secured its first NEWMAC Regular Season Championship since the 2001 season. The Lyons went 6-2 in league play and finished in a tie with MIT atop the final standings. Both squads have earned first round byes in this week's NEWMAC Tournament.
MIT will enter the tournament as the top seed by virtue of its 3-2 victory over Mount Holyoke on October 15. The Engineers will host both Semifinals on Saturday and the Championship on Sunday. Quarterfinal Round contests are slated to take place tomorrow, with third-seeded Wellesley College hosting sixth-seeded Babson College at 3:00 p.m. and fourth-seeded Springfield College entertaining fifth-seeded WPI at 7:00 p.m.
Mount Holyoke (12-4, 6-2 NEWMAC) will face off against the winner of the Wellesley/Babson match in one Semifinal on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. On the other side of the bracket, MIT will meet up with the winner of the Springfield/WPI contest at 11:00 a.m. The NEWMAC Championship is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Mount Holyoke jumped out to a 1-0 edge 11:17 into the contest, when senior Jess Fajardo scored her 13th goal of the year off an assist from Kirsten Kilburn. After receiving a Robertson injection at the top of the circle, Kilburn zipped a pass to Fajardo, who scored from close range.
Springfield (4-13, 4-4 NEWMAC) nearly knotted things up later in the half, but senior goalkeeper Katie Gibson was up to the task. After turning away a backhand attempt by sophomore forward Kelly Gallo, she forced senior forward Lynne Donoghue to snap a shot just wide of the cage. Gibson totaled three saves for the guests, who finished with advantages in both shots (16-10) and corners (16-3).
The Lyons still enjoyed a 1-0 advantage late in the second half, when heavy snow caused officials to suspend the match at the 12:43 mark.
After a two-day hiatus, the teams returned to Stagg Field to complete their pivotal NEWMAC clash tonight.
Springfield used a penalty corner to knot things up in the 66th minute. Kilburn came up with a defensive save on a shot by junior forward Meghan McHugh before Gallo gathered the rebound and slammed home her ninth goal of the fall.
Refusing to go away, Mount Holyoke took advantage of a penalty corner of its own to break the tie and seal its fourth consecutive victory. Kilburn's initial attempt was turned away by goalkeeper Grace Bibber, but Robertson jumped on the rebound and flicked a shot over the first year's shoulder from the left side. It was her team-leading 19th tally of the fall.
In the process, Robertson surpassed Krista Lindquist (1999-2002) as Mount Holyoke's all-time leader in career goals scored with 61. She also passed Lindquist as the program's all-time leader in career points with 144. The forward's 53 points this season are good for tops in school history. The previous mark of 52 was established by Jaimie Macari during the 2005 season. Arguably the top offensive player in program history, Robertson is approaching school records for goals in a season and assists in a season.
As a team, the 2011 Lyons became the most proficient offensive unit in program history with their 70 goals and 185 points thus far this year.