THE MATCHUP: Mount Holyoke gets its 2012 season underway with a non-conference contest versus Westfield State University Wednesday afternoon (4:30 p.m.) at the Turf Field. The Lyons have come out on top in each of their previous three contests against the Owls. Last year, they prevailed 12-11 thanks to a dramatic goal by Liz Randolph 20 seconds into double overtime. It was her fourth tally of the night. Maura Stack paced Westfield State with three goals and two assists.
THE LYONS: Mount Holyoke begins the season with high aspirations after narrowly missing the NEWMAC Tournament last spring. Just two years removed from an appearance in the ECAC Championship, the Lyons should once again vie for postseason contention thanks to the return of their top three scorers. Attacker Liz Randolph made an immediate impact on the program in 2011, racking up 35 points on 27 goals and eight assists. The rookie also chipped in with 18 draw controls , 14 ground balls and eight caused turnovers. Midfielder Hilary Bombard found the back of the net 20 times while securing 27 draw controls. Meanwhile, attacker Alex Crean chipped in with 13 goals and three assists. Now in her fifth season, head coach Miriam Esber has added six newcomers to a team that posted five wins last year.
THE OWLS: Westfield State enters the year with heightened expectations after posting its fourth consecutive winning season in 2011. Eight starters have returned for the Owls, who went 9-6 last season and finished fourth in the NEWLA standings. Fourth year head coach Greg Styles will once again look to midfielder Carly Keeney to anchor his squad. The senior was named to the NEWLA All-Conference First Team last spring after piling up 45 goals and nine assists. Other key returnees include attacker Maura Stack and midfielder Ari Colella, who combined for 61 goals and 18 assists. Jill Robinson was Westfield State's featured goalkeeper in 2011. She posted a goals against average of 10.33 and a save percentage of .449.
NEXT UP: Mount Holyoke will return to action on Saturday, when it visits Roger Williams University at 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Westfield State will make the trip to Morrisville State College next Friday at 4:30 p.m.