SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Sophomore midfielder Julia Bell scored in the 49th minute and the tally held-up as the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team defeated Wesleyan University, 1-0 in non-conference action on Tuesday evening. The Lyons are now 8-0 on the season and have tied the program record for most consecutive victories in a season. The Cardinals slip to 2-4 overall.
It was a very defensive battle right from the start as the shot margin was a narrow 5-4 in Wesleyan's favor to open the first half. Wesleyan held a 6-2 advantage in corners through the first 35 minutes, but the Mount Holyoke defense was solid, thwarting off three significant attempts in front that were deflected out of bounds.
The Lyons were held to just one shot on goal in the first half – a backhanded attempt from junior midfielder Diana Banmann (Hannover, Germany/University of Potsdam), which Cardinals keeper Sara Grundy (Montpelier, Vt./Montpelier) made a great kick save to boot it out of the zone.
While the tempo in the first half of action favored the visiting Cardinals, the homestanding Lyons stepped up the momentum in the second frame, holding a 10-7 advantage in shots. Mount Holyoke's persistence in the offensive end paid off when Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson) found the rebound of a Sarah LaQuerre (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Cheverus) and jammed it in under the goalie.
Wesleyan refused to back down following the goal at 48:33, attacking the net multiple times. The Cardinals, who held a 13-12 advantage in corners for the game, nearly tied it at 1-1 with 6:30 left on the clock.
Senior forward Amber Bruckner (Port Jefferson, N.Y./E.L. Vandermeulen) rifled a shot from the top of the arc off a corner pass from Taylor Wells (Darien, Conn./Darien), but Lyons keeper Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) made an outstanding save to preserve the 1-0 lead for Mount Holyoke.
Pressure continued late in the contest, but MHC benefited from a pair of late corners to maintain possession as time expired. The Lyons nearly scored off one of the late corners, but a great defensive save from junior Lilah Fones (Easton, Conn./Pomfret School) – one of her game-high two in the contest - kept it in Mount Holyoke's favor to end the game.
Both goaltenders were outstanding, each finishing with seven saves apiece at either end. DiCesare moves to 8-0 on the season, while Grundy slips to 2-4 despite a great performance.
The Lyons are back in action on Saturday, opening NEWMAC play against Wellesley at 1pm. Wesleyan is also in action on Saturday at NESCAC-rival Hamilton at 12pm.