SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Senior attack Molly Macdonald scored a game-best seven goals, including four in the second half, to lead the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team to a 16-10 victory over Bridgewater State University on Wednesday evening. With the win, the Lyons move to 9-2 on the season, while the Bears shoulder their first loss of the year, slipping to 10-1 overall.
Mount Holyoke got out of the gates early, building up a 4-0 lead behind a pair of goals from first year Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson) and a tally each by Macdonald (Milton, Mass./Milton Academy) and junior midfielder Brianne Phelan (Quincy, Mass./Quincy).
Bridgewater State cut the deficit to 4-2 soon after as junior midfielder Taylor Clancy (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) tallied at 19:36 and sophomore attack Riley Cachelin (Westwood, Mass./Westwood) converted a nice feed from first year Alexis Hadcock (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme).
The two teams continued to trade goals and despite holding a 10-5 advantage with 4:31 to play, the Lyons saw their lead slip as the Bears battled to pull the score to within three heading into halftime. First year midfielder Lauren Geary (Hull, Mass./Hull) fired one past MHC keeper Liz Malenfant (Nantucket, Mass./White Mountain School (N.H.) at 3:51 and Clancy converted and unassisted tally less than a minute later to make it a 10-7 game after 30 minutes of play.
Bridgewater State came out firing in the second half as Clancy slipped in another shot and senior midfielder Shelby Farland (Fiskdale, Mass./Tantasqua Regional) scored on the free position to make it a one-goal (10-9) game with 25:12 remaining in the game.
Despite the momentum for the visitors, the Lyons offense came alive scoring five straight goals, including three by Macdonald within a four-minute span to make it a 16-9 lead with 5:47 left on the clock. The Bears refused to back down and Farland netted her second of the game less than 30 seconds after MacDonald's final goal to push it to a 16-10 margin.
Mount Holyoke saw its defense play strong over the final five minutes, holding the ball for the majority of the time frame. The Lyons held the advantage in shots (30-25), draw controls (18-10) and clears (19-22), while the Bears owned the margin in ground balls (13-10).
Individually, Macdonald led the way for MHC with seven goals on 11 shots. Sophomore midfielder Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) added three goals and an assist with three ground balls and four draw controls, while Bell had two goals and two assists to go along with a game-best eight draw controls.
Bridgewater State was led by Clancy, who tallied three goals and also won three draw controls. Farland, Cachelin and Geary all added two goals apiece, while Geary pulled in five draw controls to move her season total to 107 on the season.
In goal, Malenfant made nine saves for Mount Holyoke, including several critical stops in the second half to keep the margin in the Lyons favor. For Bridgewater State, first year Chandler Ross (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip Regional) recorded 11 saves, including six in the first half.
Wednesday night's contest not only marked Mount Holyoke's celebration of NCAA Division III Week and National Student-Athlete Day, but also honored MHC Athletics Director, Laurie Priest. Priest will step down at the end of the school year after 24 years as Mount Holyoke's Chair of Physical Education and the Athletics Director.
The Lyons are back on the field on Saturday in the final regular season game of the year against NEWMAC-rival Wheaton at 12pm. MHC will be celebrating Senior Day for its seven graduating seniors. Bridgewater State is back in action on April 16 when it plays at Westfield State at 7pm.
Photo of Macdonald courtesy of Frank Poulin Sports Photography. Purchase game photos at frankpoulin.smugmug.com