SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – First year midfielder Sophie Perekslis tallied the game-winning goal with 3:28 to play to lift the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team to a 1-0 victory over Williams College in non-conference action on Wednesday. With the win, the 17th-ranked Lyons improve to 5-1 on the season, while the 18th-ranked Ephs suffer their first loss of the season and are now 3-1.
Both teams had a number of chances throughout the contest, but the favor fell to Mount Holyoke late in the game as the Lyons controlled play down the stretch. Perekslis (Sheffield, Mass./Berkshire School) gave MHC the advantage in the 67th minute after she collected a pass from sophomore forward Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) and fired it between the goalie's legs.
The Lyons continued to threaten minutes later as seniors Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) and Allison Slysz (Hatfield, Mass./Smith Academy) both posted shots off a corner in the final minute of play but sophomore goalie Margaret Draper (Belmont, Mass./Milton) made a pair of outstanding saves.
It was a back-and-forth battle to open the contest as each team had opportunities, but the action really exploded in the second half as the squads combined for 21 shots in the stanza. MHC goalie Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) was phenomenal throughout the frame as the Ephs had several solid attempts early.
Among the best came in the 44th minute when junior midfielder Annie VanWagenen (Rye, N.Y./Rye) and sophomore middie Rachel Brissette (Larchmont, N.Y./Mamaroneck) fired back-to-back shots at DiCesare, who was able to make the kick save and a diving stop. Another outstanding attempt came during a flurry in the 58th-minute as VanWagenen had consecutive shots that were both saved and went off the post. As the ball rebounded, first year forward Kate Pattison (Hanover, N.H./Proctor Academy) was there, but DiCesare was able to dive back to make the stop.
Mount Holyoke soon found momentum, earning back-to-back corners late in the frame. Draper came up big for the Ephs as the Lyons were awarded a penalty shot. Facing off against Kilburn, Draper stopped a high arching shot with 3:36 to play to keep it deadlocked, but the Lyons would break through seconds later with Perekslis's game-winner.
Williams, who saw Draper make six saves in the contest, held a 20-14 advantage in shots. The Lyons, which were paced by DiCesare's 14 saves, held an 11-5 edge in corners.
The Lyons return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Wesleyan for a 7pm game. Williams travels to Amherst on Saturday for an 11am contest.
Photo courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.