NORTON, Mass. (Apr. 27, 2013) - Despite a four-goal performance from senior attack Molly Macdonald, the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team could not overcome a strong first-half by Springfield College, falling to the Pride by a 14-9 margin in the semifinals of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Confernence Tournament. The second-seeded Lyons are now 11-4, while the third-seeded Pride move to 10-7 overall.
Springfield, which is the defending NEWMAC Tournament champion, will have the opportunity to grab its second-straight title on Sunday when it faces fourth-seeded Babson at 1pm. The Beavers knocked off top-seeded Wheaton, 11-8 in Saturday's first semifinal.
The Lyons broke out onto the scoreboard early as Macdonald scored her 55th of the season past Pride junior goalie Anne Versprille at 27:17. Springfield came roaring back with 22:19 remaining as sophomore attack Jennifer McDonough fired one in. The Pride continued with the momentum as sophomore midfielder Michelle Dorsey scored from the free position at 17:05 and junior attack Kelly Gallo tipped in a Meghan Flanagan pass less than a minute later to grab a 3-1 advantage with 16:26 to play in the first half.
Dorsey then added her 28th of the year and second of the contest and Flanagan - a senior midfielder - scored one of her own to make it a 5-1 lead for the third-seeded Pride with 11:28 remaining in the opening stanza. Springfield continued to capitalize on Mount Holyoke's foul troubles in the shootling lane, as first year midfielder Connie Nielsen scored from the free position - the squad's third of the half from the arch - at 10:20 to make it a 6-1 lead.
Down 8-1 after goals from Flanagan and junior midfielder Kerstin Lindrooth, Mount Holyoke began a comeback as sophomore midfielder Kirsten Kilburn scored unassisted at 4:17. That tally was quickly followed by Macdonald's 56th of the season as she converted a pass from senior attack Christina Horimoto.
The Lyons were unable to shut down the Pride in the final seconds as Springfield took a 9-3 lead into halftime as sophomore attack Colleen Keeley scored with 11 seconds to play.
Junior midfielder Brianne Phelan got things going for Mount Holyoke to open the second half, cutting the deficit to five (9-4) at 25:33 but the Pride answered as Dorsey scored from the free position at 24:39 to make it 10-4.
Less than 30 second later, Keeley tacked on her second of the game and Flanagan helped Springfrield take a 13-4 lead after scoring at 21:17 and assisting on senior middie Allie Davis's marker with 19:25 to play in the game.
Macdonald cut the gap once again for the Lyons with 16:14 remaining, netting her third of the game off a pass from first year attack Julia Bell to make it a 13-5 game and MHC grabbed the momentum to cut the lead to 13-8 over the next eight minutes.
The Lyons peppered shots at Springfield's Versprille and it paid off at 8:49 as Macdonald netted her fourth of the game and 58th of the season to make it 13-6. Bell then tallied less than 30 seconds later off a feed from first year middie Catherine Ryan, while Kilburn recorded her 42nd of the season to make it a five-goal game (13-8) with 8:08 remaining.
Springfield halted the run by the Lyons with 5:37 to play as Keeley converted a pass from Dorsey to make it 14-8. Mount Holyoke was able to edge back to the five-goal margin (14-9) with 1:12 left on the clock as Phelan scored off an assist from Ryan, but it wasn't enough as the Pride held on down the stretch to take the victory and advance.
The Pride saw Dorsey post three goals and three assists in the game, while Flanagan added three goals and two assists. Keeley chipped in with three goals and an assist. In goal, Versprille made nine saves before giving way to first year Carley Elkin, who made one stop over the final 5:37.
For Mount Holyoke, Macdonald recorded four goals and now has 58 on the season. Her total ranks third all-time for goals in a season and she becomes the first MHC player to score at least 58 goals since 2010. Kilburn and Phelan each added two goals for the Lyons, while in net, senior Liz Malenfant - the reigning ECAC and NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week - made eight saves.
The Pride look to clinch the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on Sunday against Babson (1pm), while the Lyons post-season hopes stay alive as well. Mount Holyoke will wait for selections to both the ECAC New England Championship (May 8, 11-12) and the NCAA Tournament (selections on May 5th).
NOTABLES: In what has been a banner year for the Mount Holyoke lacrosse team, several individuals are stamping their names into the seasonal record books. First year Julia Bell's 71 points currently ranks third all-time for points in a season, while senior Molly Macdonald's 67 points is fourth all-time. Additionally, Macdonald's 58 goals is third all-time in a season. First year Catherine Ryan's 39 assists rank second all-time in a season for a Lyons player, while sophomore Kirsten Kilburn's 80 draw controls are also second all-time in a season. In goal, senior Liz Malenfant is the Lyons all-time leader for wins in a season (11-3). She is also second in a season in goals against average (9.49) and save percentage (.488), while ranking third in saves (126).