SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Mount Holyoke College field hockey team battled back from an early deficit to post a 3-1 win over Simmons College in the season-opener for both teams. The Lyons, who are ranked 17th-nationally, saw three different players score to grab its first victory. The visiting Sharks played solid defense in the second-half, including a 10-save performance from their keeper.
After a back-and-forth start to the contest, Simmons struck first as sophomore forward Gabrielle Henderson (Dover-Foxcroft, Maine/Foxcroft Academy) fired in her first of the season at the 15:42 mark. Off a nice feed from sophomore midfielder Robin Powell (Richmond, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) down the middle, Henderson took advantage of a wide open goal at the right corner and slammed it home.
The Lyons, who carried a 17-2 advantage in shots during the first half of action, finally broke past goalie Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H./Salem) at 25:04 on a score by sophomore Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School). Rastello made the initial stop of Wagner's first shot down the middle, but as the ball came loose, the Lyons' forward found the ball and sent it in to the left corner.
Mount Holyoke struck a final time before the end of the first half as first year midfielder Sophie Perekslis (Sheffield, Mass./Berkshire School) tallied the first of her collegiate career at 32:43. Taking advantage of another loose ball opportunity in front, Perekslis slammed home the shot from the left side after a Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) strike from the high circle came free of Rastello's grasp.
In the second half of action, the Lyons bolstered their lead at 50:02 as sophomore forward Jessica Taylor (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) squeezed the ball in just past Rastello near the line. Junior forward Anna Hartman (Montpelier, Vt./Montpelier) was credited with the assist after making the short pass across the goal mouth to Taylor.
Simmons continued to battle late in the game, but could not solve the MHC defense, which held the Sharks to just five shots in the contest. Mount Holyoke owned a 29-5 advantage in shots for the contest and also held a strong margin in penalty corners, 19-4.
Rastello was solid in goal for the Sharks, making 10 saves in the contest. Powell led the team in shots, recording two overall, while also assisting on the lone goal. For Mount Holyoke, Kilburn recorded a game-best 12 shots, including five on goal. Sophomore goalie Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) posted the win with one save in 68:15 of action. Classmate Ally Tessier (Coventry, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey School) played the final 1:45 and was not forced to make a save.
Mount Holyoke returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Nichols College at 7pm. Simmons is also in action on Tuesday, hosting Becker at 7pm.