SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Powered by a pair of goals in the opening half, the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team defeated Husson University, 2-0 in First Round NCAA Tournament action on Wednesday afternoon. With the victory, the Lyons improve to 17-3 overall and advance to the Second Round for the second straight season. The Eagles conclude their season with a 9-9 mark.
After a solid back-and-forth for the majority of the opening half, the homestanding Lyons broke through in the 23rd minute as junior midfielder Sarah LaQuerre converted a shot past the reach of goalie Kaitlin Dolloff (Richmond, R.I./Chariho). Off a corner injection, senior middie Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) corralled the ball at the top of the arc and sent the ball across to LaQuerre on the left, who took two steps and fired it in.
The Lyons struck again in the 28th minute as sophomore forward Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) navigated the ball into the zone along the back line. Working around a defender, she was able to send it to the front, where junior forward Anna Hartman (Montpelier, Vt./Montpelier) battled with the goalie to send it in on the right side.
MHC, which had an 8-4 advantage in shots for the opening half, were unable to get another one past Dolloff. Husson had several chances of its own in the opening stanza, including a shot by first year forward Kerianne Downing (Dedham, Mass./Dedham).
Navigating into the circle, Downing rifled a shot through traffic in front, but MHC goalie Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) was quick to make the save. First year midfielder Hanna Jordan (Lisbon Falls, Maine/Lisbon) was right there off the rebound, but her shot just went wide left.
In the second half, the Lyons were dominant with ball possession, but Husson played equally outstanding defense to keep Mount Holyoke at a 2-0 score. Senior Allison Slysz (Hatfield, Mass./Smith Academy) nearly pushed MHC ahead with 19 minutes remaining, but her tip off a shot from the top by Kilburn went just wide across the goal mouth and out.
Junior midfielder Britt Mellor (Belfast, Maine/Belfast Area) had several solid attempts with 11 minutes remaining, including a shot off the corner injection that was saved and knocked out by DiCesare to the right side. Downing also had a strong chance for Husson, sending a shot across in front, but nobody was at the left post as the ball sailed out.
Mount Holyoke, which finished with a 16-8 advantage in shots and a 10-7 edge in penalty corners, saw DiCesare pick up the win with four saves. Her counterpart, Dolloff stopped six shots in the loss.
The Lyons now advance to Saturday's Second Round where they will face Bowdoin College at 11am in Brunswick, Maine. This will be the first-ever meeting between the 13th-ranked Lyons and the third-ranked Polar Bears. Bowdoin is also the defending national champion.
The winner of Saturday's game advances to Sunday's Regional Final (also at Bowdoin) to face the winner of the second game between Skidmore and FDU-Florham. Sunday's contest begins at 1pm.
NOTES: This was the fourth NCAA Tournament appearance for both Mount Holyoke and Husson. MHC has now won back-to-back First Round games, having defeated Gwynedd-Mercy by a 5-2 margin in 2013.