Lacrosse Routs Whitter, 20-5, in Season Opener

WHITTIER, Calif. (March 19, 2007) - Sophomore transfer Ava Gottschall scored nine goals and first year Peggy Wefald added seven goals as the Mount Holyoke lacrosse team got their season off to an impressive start with a 20-5 road victory over Whittier College of California Monday night.

Gottschall and Wefald sparked the Lyons' as the Mount Holyoke offense scored nine unanswered goals over a fifteen and a half minute stretch of the first-half. Gotschall and Wefald scored eight of the nine goals as the Lyons built a 12-3 lead and dominated the rest of the way.

"It was amazing," said Wefald, who was playing in her first collegiate game. "Playing under the lights in California, I've been looking forward to this all year. We moved the ball around well and there wasn't any spotlight on anyone - it was a team effort."

Gottschall agreed with her teammate's assessment. "We wanted to play well," said Gottschall, a sophomore Amherst native who recorded a career single-game high with nine goals. "We weren't as confident when the game started, but we felt our way around and our confidence grew. Both our offense and defense played great."

Kira Eisenzopf, Jo Niepoort, Ashley DeFlumere, and Kristen Cody played a strong defensive game as MHC limited the Poets to one goal in the second-half. "We were all excited and nervous when the game started," said Cody, a first-year from Old Lyme, Connecticut. "We played well defensively. We slipped over on defense and we carried the ball out well when we had to. This win will help build our confidence."

At the outset of the game it appeared that it was going to be a very close match. Gottschall got the Lyons on the board first with a goal with just over a minute into the game. Shari Brokowsky tied the game, 1-1, with a goal for Whittier. Wefald scored MHC's second goal with a quick inside spin move that gave the Lyons a 2-1 lead. But the Poets quickly tied the score at 2-2. Gottschall again put Mount Holyoke back on top with a goal with 20:58 left in the first-half. But moments later the Poets tied the game, at 3-3.

Then the Lyons' offense exploded, and was virtually unstoppable. Gottschall and Wefald used their speed and quickness to lead the onslaught. The duo scored eight of the next nine goals propelling MHC to a 13-4 lead at halftime. Wefald controlled most of the draws that led set up many of the Lyons' goals.

However, the unsung hero of the evening was senior Lisa Roberts. An all conference defender last season, Roberts was converted into a goalkeeper for this season and she made things tough on Whittier. She turned back several shots from in close at critical times in the first-half halting Whittier's comeback efforts.

"Lisa came to me before the season and asked what she can do to help the team," said Lyons' coach Jennifer Seferiadis. "She started training as a goalkeeper in February. It's a huge sacrifice and it proves what a selfless player she really is. She gave us an emotional boost."

"I was really nervous before the game," said Roberts, who had never played goalie prior to Monday's game. "I became more relaxed because we played a strong transition ball sequence and our midfielders played an aggressive game. I know things are going to get tougher when we get back east, but this game was a confidence booster for me."

Danielle Babcock had an outstanding game with one goal and four assists. Katie Dahill, Niepoort, Carline Schnell also tallied a goal a piece for the Lyons.

Mount Holyoke will play the University of Redlands on Wednesday before traveling to Wellesley to compete in the Seven Sisters Tournament this weekend.