SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Junior Diana Banmann scored at 45:35 to break a 2-2 tie and the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team held on for the 3-2 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in non-conference action on Saturday. With the win, the Lyons improve to 3-0 on the season, while the Engineers are now 2-2 overall.
Mount Holyoke got things going at the 9:22 mark after junior midfielder Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) made a solid individual effort. Rensselaer goaltender Hannah Clough (Acton, Mass./Acton Boxborough Regional) came out about five yards from the goal to make a diving save but could not control the rebound as Kilburn dribbled right and fired the shot through traffic and in.
The visiting Engineers wasted little time in tying the game at 1-all as junior forward Catherine Mahoney (Troy, N.Y./Emma Willard School) deflected a shot from far outside into the wide open net, catching MHC keeper Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) off guard.
Both teams continued to battle but it was the Lyons who gained the advantage with less than two minutes to go in the half. Settling the ball at the top of mid-arc, sophomore midfielder Sarah LaQuerre (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Cheverus) fired a shot toward the left side, but classmate Anna Hartman (Montpelier, Vt./Montpelier) was there to save the off-angled shot, pushing it past Clough into the right corner.
In the second half of action, RPI made it a 2-2 game as senior midfielder Kelsey Porter (Quechee, Vt./Hartford) corralled a pass from classmate Sarah Krolus (Westminster, Md./Garrison Forest School) and knocked it into the left corner of the past the reach of DiCesare at 38:14.
Clough was outstanding for the Engineers, stopping a number of flurries by the Lyons, including back-to-back shots from Kilburn and Banmann (Hannover, Germany/University of Potsdam) in the 44th minute.
Mount Holyoke's persistence in front soon paid off as Banmann fired a perfectly placed pass from Kilburn into the left corner to give the Lyons a 3-2 advantage at 45:35.
It was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams over the final 15 minutes of the game. RPI made a number of outstanding shots late, but the MHC defense stood tall in front of DiCesare, blocking shots from first year Claire Cecilio (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) and Krolus, along with a kick-save on the right side off a shot from junior forward Molly Zuk (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton).
Despite several turnovers in the final minute, Mount Holyoke was able to gain possession and hold on for the victory and remain undefeated.
The Lyons held a 32-16 advantage in shots and also led by a 15-10 edge in penalty corners. In goal, DiCesare improved to 3-0 with five saves, while Clough stopped 20 in the RPI net.
Mount Holyoke returns to action on Tuesday when they host Amherst for a 7pm start. RPI is also in action on Tuesday, hosting St. John Fisher at 5pm.