Field Hockey Victorious in NEWMAC Opener

Junior midfielder Mirjam Keochakian plays the ball forward against Castleton.

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Five second half goals, including a hat-trick from junior Mirjam Keochakian, powered the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team to a 6-1 win over Clark University on Saturday afternoon. It marked the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both teams as the Lyons move to 3-2 overall (1-0), while the Cougars slip to 2-3 (0-1).

Holding a 1-0 advantage following the first half of action, Mount Holyoke broke open the game less than five minutes into the second stanza as Keochakian (Hamburg, Germany/Deerfield Academy) netted the first of two consecutive goals. Corralling the ball of a corner injection from junior captain Colby Newsham (Harvard, Mass./Bromfield School), Keochakian sent a bullet shot through traffic and in at the 40:00 mark. Her second goal made it a 3-0 lead for the Lyons as she navigated the ball into the circle at the top, dribbled and rocketed the shot down the middle just 1:17 after her previous tally.

The visiting Cougars struck back at 56:35 after a shot off the corner landed on the stick of first year midfielder Cheyanne Zappala (Laconia, N.H./Laconia). She fired in on MHC keeper Maddie Miller (Marblehead, Mass./Marblehead), who made the stop, but the ball caromed out to junior forward Olivia Barksdale (Fort Washington, Md./Bishop O'Connell). Faced with the open net, Barksdale lifted the ball over the sticks of a pair of defenders at the line for the tally.

Despite the momentum, Mount Holyoke stifled the Clark defense over the remainder of the contest. The Lyons capitalized on a pair of infractions, the first at 58:44 as senior forward and captain Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic) was fouled in front of the goal. Keochakian stepped up to take the ensuing penalty stroke, powering it past first year goalie Katie Crowley (Bolton, Mass./Nashoba Regional). MHC capitalized with another penalty stroke at 64:26, this time sending Newsham to the circle, who fired it in at the left corner for the 6-1 lead.

Mount Holyoke held a 24-6 advantage in shots for the contest, also owning a 14-5 edge in penalty corners. In goal, Lyons starter Morgan Turner (Chester, N.J./West Morris Mendham) earned the win, she posted one save over 54:29 of action. Miller came on in relief, playing 9:57 with one stop, while first year Gianna Molinari (Windsor Locks, Conn./Northwest Catholic) played the final 5:34 of the contest and was not forced to make a save.

The Lyons are right back on the field on Sunday, hosting Thomas at 11am. Clark returns to the field on Tuesday, traveling to Lasell for a 4pm match.