SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 11, 2013) - Backstopped by 11 saves from senior goalie Liz Malenfant and a game-high five goals from sophomore midfielder Kirsten Kilburn, the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team posted a 16-6 victory over the University of Southern Maine in the ECAC New England Championship Semifinals.
The Lyons, who are the second-seed, improve to 12-4 overall and advance to the ECAC Championship Game on Sunday at 1pm against top-seeded Western New England, who beat fifth-seeded Worcester State by a 17-11 margin in the second semifinal. The Huskies, who were the third-seed, conclude their 2013 season with a 12-8 mark.
It was a close game to start as senior attack Molly Macdonald (Milton, Mass./Milton Academy) scored on the free position at 28:13 to put the Lyons up, but the Huskies battled back as senior attack Lauren Santo (Salem, N.H./Salem) scored with 22:37 remaining to make it 1-all.
Tallies from Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) and junior midfielder Brianne Phelan (Quincy, Mass./Quincy) put Mount Holyoke up by two but first year Sarah Pelligrinelli (Southington, Conn./Southington) fired in an unassisted shot to cut the deficit with 20:25 to go in the opening half.
Mount Holyoke then broke open the game wide open as Kilburn (pictured left on the draw control) started a five-goal rally that saw the Lyons head into the locker room with an 8-2 advantage. Macdonald followed up Kilburn's tally, connecting off a feed from first year midfielder Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson) for her 60th of the season. After a tally from junior captain Naomi Miller (Augusta, Maine/Cony), Bell notched her second assist of the half, with a pass to senior attack Christina Horimoto (San Jose, Calif./Leland).
Malenfant (Nantucket, Mass./White Mountain School (N.H.) was brilliant during the first half of action, making eight saves over the first 30 minutes, including a number of point-blank shots and free position attempts.
The Lyons continued to press in the second half as Kilburn pounded in back-to-back goals, including a low shot through traffic, and Bell added a pair of her own, both assisted by first year attack Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow). Ryan continued to aide the offensive effort, assisting on tallies from Macdonald and senior midfielder Lindsey Kanno (Cranston, R.I./Cranston East) to make it a 14-2 contest with 14:17 remaining in the game.
Santo broke up the scoring run as she notched an unassisted marker, but Bell and Kilburn each answered on the free position to make it a 16-3 game. The Huskies were able to pour in three straight over the final 6:19 but it wasn't enought as the Lyons held strong over the final minute with several more outstanding saves from Malenfant from close range.
In addition to Kilburn, Bell finished with three goals and three assists for Mount Holyoke. Macdonald also added three goals, while Ryan chipped in with a goal and a game-best four helpers. In goal, Malenfant improved to 12-3 on the season after stopping 11 shots.
For the Huskies, Santo and Pelligrinelli each added two goals, while junior keeper Kim Vogel (Sanford, Maine/Sanford) shouldered the loss with five saves over 34:33 minutes of action. First year Caley Presby (Portland, Maine/Deering) came on in relief for the final 24:17. She did not make any stops.
The Lyons held a 30-23 advantage in shots, while also edging the Huskies in ground balls by an 18-15 margin. Southern Maine led in draw controls by a 14-10 margin.
Sunday's championship title game appearance will mark the second time the Lyons have appeared in the ECAC Championship game. The last time was during the 2010 season.
Photos by the Mount Holyoke College Sports Information Department. Cover photo of Liz Malenfant stopping a shot during the win over the Huskies.