THE MATCHUP: Mount Holyoke takes to its home field for the first time in 2012 on Thursday when it welcomes the Bison of Nichols College at 7pm on the Turf Field. This will be the eighth all-time meeting between the two schools, with the Lyons owning a 5-2-0 advantage in the series. Mount Holyoke has won each of the past two meetings, including a 4-0 victory over the Bison in 2011.
THE MOUNT HOLYOKE LYONS: Mount Holyoke (1-0, 0-0 NEWMAC) posted a dramatic start to the 2012 campaign, defeating Regis College, 1-0 in overtime. Mount Holyoke came out of the gate early and was looking to capitalize on a number of shot attempts, but the Pride would not budge. In the closing minutes of the half, Regis received perhaps the best scoring chance of the match when junior Stacy Burns was awarded a penalty stroke. Burns took a blistering shot to the upper right corner of the net, but goalkeeper Anne O'Byrne, who was named the NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts, was able to swat her attempt away, making one of her nine saves of the game. Both teams entered halftime scoreless. Sophomore Kirsten Kilburn had a strong performance for the visiting Lyons and pressured the Pride all game. Regis goalkeeper Raegan Heck was stellar, turning away all nine of Kilburn's shots on goal. Despite some quality chances and close calls during the game, neither team was able to find the back of the net in regulation time. In overtime, Mount Holyoke forward Angelica Pascual wasted little time and finally got on the board for the Lyons at the 11:15 mark. Pascual ran onto the ball and broke free for a one-on-one battle with Heck, slipping the ball just past her for the golden goal and win (pictured on the right). The Lyons look to continue their winning ways against the Bison on Thursday. In 2011, Mount Holyoke went 16-5 overall and 6-2 in the NEWMAC to win the regular season title. The squad advanced to the NEWMAC Tournament for the 13th year and went on to defeat Plymouth State and claim the 2011 ECAC Division III New England Tournament crown.
THE NICHOLS BISON: Nichols (2-0, 0-0 CCC) has gotten off to a hot start in 2012, posting a 2-0 record to open the young season. The Bison defeated Thomas College by a 4-3 margin in the season-opener, before edging Smith College, 7-6 on Tuesday. Senior midfield/forward Emily Widdison leads the team in scoring through two games, tallying four goals with two assists for 10 points. She has notched two goals in each game thus far. Sophomore Avery Orszulak is second with four points, both goals that came in the win over Smith. In the cage, sophomores Molly Melanson and Emily Mercure have split the duties. Both are 1-0 on the season with Melanson sporting a 3.00 goals against average and Mercure with a 6.00 GAA. In the win over Smith, Mercure made 12 saves, while Melanson does not have any stops on the year. Last season, the Bison went 9-9 overall, including a 5-5 record in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Widdison led the team in goals (14) and points (31), while finishing third in assists (3).
NEXT UP: The Lyons continue their homestand, hosting Castleton State on Saturday at 1pm on the Turf Field. Nichols is back in action on September 11 with a 7pm match against Clark.