Lacrosse Edges Springfield, 11-10 in NEWMAC Opener

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Junior midfielder Brianne Phelan's goal with 3:44 remaining proved to be the difference as Mount Holyoke College edged Springfield College, 11-10 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both teams. With the win, the Lyons move to 6-1 on the season, while the Pride – who are the defending NEWMAC Tournament champions – move to 5-3 overall.

Holding a narrow 5-4 lead to open the second half of action, Springfield saw its lead erased as first year defender Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson) connected off a feed from senior attack Christina Horimoto (San Jose, Calif./Leland) in front to make it a 5-all game with 27:51 to play.

The game quickly became a back-and-forth battle as each squad continued to match goals over the next three minutes. Springfield first year midfielder Connie Nielsen (Sayville, N.Y./Sayville) gave the visitors a 6-5 edge, but Horimoto responded less than 10 seconds later to give the homestanding Lyons back the lead  at 24:45 – which they would not surrender.

 Mount Holyoke capitalized to take a 9-6 lead as senior attack Molly Macdonald (Milton, Mass./Milton Academy) converted a pass from behind the net by first year middie Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) and Bell fired in a pair of goals, including one on the free position.

The Pride pulled it to 9-7 with 15:46 left on the clock as junior attack Kelly Gallo (Westfield, Mass./Westfield) ripped one in, but sophomore attack Katie Block (Wellesley, Mass./Beaver Country Day School) answered with her first goal of the season to push MHC's lead back to three (10-7) with 12:10 remaining.

Despite the momentum, the Pride refused to back down and junior midfielder Kerstin Lindrooth (Bryn Athyn, Pa./Academy of the New Church) took advantage with a free position tally to cut the gap to two (10-8) with 6:57 remaining.

Phelan (Quincy, Mass./Quincy) was able to push it to 11-8 on a beautiful goal, which saw her carry it in from behind the goal and split the defense, but Springfield fought back. Capitalizing on a pair of untimely yellow cards for the Lyons, senior midfielder Meghan Flanagan (Averill Park, N.Y./Averill Park) made it an 11-9 game and Lindrooth pulled it to within one (11-10) with just 1:07 on the clock.

The Lyons, who were aided by goals from six different players, held strong in the closing seconds, using solid defense to earn their first conference win of the season and their first victory over Springfield since the 2010 season.

Bell led the way for the Lyons, tallying a game-best three goals with two assists. Macdonald also added a game-high three goals with an assist, while sophomore midfielder Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) chipped in with two goals.

In the cage, senior Liz Malenfant (Nantucket, Mass./White Mountain School (N.H.) made 10 saves, including several key stops in the second half, over 59:46 of action. Sophomore Aune Mitchell (Ridgefield, Conn./Phillips Exeter Academy (N.H.) played 14 seconds of relief.

For the Pride, Lindrooth fired in a game-best three goals with two assists. Nielsen had two goals with an assist, while Flanagan and Gallo each added two goals apiece. Between the pipes, junior Anne Versprille (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) shouldered the loss and made five saves on the day.

Springfield held the edge in shots, 24-19, while also holding the edge in ground balls (12-10) and draw controls (12-11).

The Lyons return to action on Saturday when they travel to Wellesley for a 12pm match against the Blue. Springfield is back on the file on Wednesday at Amherst for a 7:15pm contest.