MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Senior Jennifer Tafro scored at 87:23 of the second overtime to lift the Montclair State University field hockey team to a 1-0 victory over Mount Holyoke College in the first game of the NCAA Tournament Second Round at Sprague Field on Saturday. With the victory, the top-ranked Red Hawks move to 21-1, while the Lyons conclude their outstanding season with an 18-3 mark.
The Red Hawks move on to Sunday's Third Round game, which will be played at 1pm on Sprague Field, against the winner of Saturday's game two between SUNY New Paltz and Bowdoin College.
After an incredible defensive battle, the homestanding Red Hawks clinched the victory as senior Stephanie Lewis (Garwood, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson) corralled the ball and fed it through the circle to Tafro (Little Falls, N.J./Passaic Valley), who banged it in on the left side.
In goal, Mount Holyoke's Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) had an outstanding effort, recording 13 saves, including three in the first half and first overtime. She recorded six stops in the second half and made one stop in the second overtime.
Locked in a 0-0 tie after the opening 35 minutes, the Red Hawks came out on the attack and quickly carried the action into the MHC zone. First year Danielle Butrico (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) fired one in less than a minute in but was stopped, while first year Gianna Moglino (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) sent yet another shot in that was kicked away by DiCesare.
Three straight corners by Montclair State showed the strength of the Lyons defense as Tafro got a shot off in each one, which were all blocked in front. Montclair State continued to pressure in the MHC zone and nearly capitalized at 56:30 as first year Megan Roeloffs (Robbinsville, N.J./Robbinsville) corralled a great pass and fired it in, but DiCesare made yet another great kick save to get it out of the zone.
The Lyons began to find their own groove offensively but much like at the other end, the Red Hawks defenders were ready. Off a corner, junior captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) saw a shot get blocked away, which was quickly followed by a blocked shot off the stick of first year Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) at 59:32.
Tafro continued to be a presence for the Red Hawks, firing off another bulleted shot off the corner that DiCesare was able to kick out at 63:31.
It proved to be a back-and-forth battle over the final four minutes of the contest, but Mount Holyoke had the best chance as senior Victoria Beja-Glasser (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill) collected a feed from sophomore Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) and made a quick turn toward goal. She sent in a shot, but Brattole made a great point-blank save.
The two teams headed into overtime and both sides had their chances. Kilburn had a near miss to open things up as she fired a shot in on the cage that went just right of Brattole. The Red Hawks battled back and sent several shots in on goal in the final 30 seconds, but DiCesare was outstanding. Despite a last second corner awarded, Montclair State was unable to capitalize and send it to the second overtime.
MSU attacked hard in the second OT, but despite a number of solid plays by the defense, the Lyons could not hold off Tafro.
The Red Hawks held the 27-5 edge in shots and owned a 15-4 advantage in corners.
DiCesare photo versus Montclair State courtesy of Mount Holyoke Sports Information.