CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The fifth-seeded Mount Holyoke College field hockey team capitalized with a pair of early goals and held off a strong attack by fourth-seeded Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a 2-1 victory in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday evening.
With the victory, the Lyons improve to 13-6 and advance to the NEWMAC Semifinals on Saturday, facing off against top-seed and host Babson College at 12pm. The Engineers conclude their season with a 9-6 record. It marks the third straight season that MHC advances to the conference semifinals.
Mount Holyoke opened the game's scoring early as senior forward Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson) put one in at 5:34. Off a penalty corner, first year defender Mirjam Keochakian (Hamburg, Germany/Deerfield Academy (MA) deflected a pass to Bell, who sent in a shot from the middle of the circle to the near post.
The Lyons added to their advantage at 11:44 as senior captain and midfielder Sarah LaQuerre (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Cheverus) dropped in a high arching shot from the far side into the near post off the penalty corner. Junior forward Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) earned the assist on the corner injection.
Despite the deficit on the scoreboard, the homestanding Engineers kept the offensive pressure up, forcing MHC goalie Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) to make nine stops in the opening 35 minutes, including back-to-back stops less than five seconds apart following MHC's second goal.
In addition to DiCesare, the Lyons saw a strong effort by junior captain and defender Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School), who had a key defensive save off a shot by MIT's Emily Penn, preserving the advantage.
The second half of action saw MIT continue to pressure, finally converting at 52:34 as senior forward Molly McNamara (Auburn, Mass./Auburn) sent the ball in through a scramble in front of the net past DiCesare. First year forward Bailey Tregoning (Frederick, Md./Linganore) earned the assist on the play.
A penalty corner by McNamara at 57:19 led to the Lyons second defensive save of the contest as sophomore middie Kathryn Rawson (Old Town, Maine/Old Town) stopped Penn's fourth shot of the game at the line. DiCesare came up huge over a 34 second span late, stopping three straight shots.
MIT, which held a 23-3 shot advantage for the game, had a chance in the final 1:02 of the game, but junior forward Tate DeWeese's (Towson, Md./The Bryn Mawr School) shot went wide and the MHC defense held strong for the remainder.
DiCesare moved to 11-6 on the season, stopping 15 shots on the evening – her second highest save total this season. For MIT, senior Evie Kyritsis (Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) did not have any stops.
Mount Holyoke will face top-seeded Babson on Saturday in the NEWMAC Semifinals. The Lyons captured the regular season meeting between the two teams on October 17th, winning 1-0 in South Hadley. Saturday's match-up at Babson will also mark the third time the two have met in the Semifinals as the Beavers grabbed a 2-1 win in 2005, while the Lyons defeated Babson, 7-2 in 2011.