SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Sophomore attack Julia Bell netted a game-best eight goals, including five in the second half, to lead the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team to a 17-13 come-from-behind win over Westfield State University on Wednesday evening. The Lyons move to 4-4 on the season, while the Owls slip to 2-4 overall.
Down by a 9-5 margin after the opening half of action, Mount Holyoke stepped it up to open the final 30 minutes as Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson) and fellow sophomore Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) each recorded goals off feeds from senior Liz Randolph (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) to make it a 9-7 game.
Westfield State responded as sophomore Blair Smith (Milford, Mass.) fired one in, but the Lyons answered with five straight goals, including three from junior captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) to grab a 12-10 advantage.
The Owls refused to give up and took the lead back as consecutive tallies from junior Stephanie Lenhardt (Duxbury, Mass.) and the third goal of the season for senior Lee Meskevich (Becket, Mass./Wahconah Regional) put the visitors back in control by a 13-12 margin with 11:22 to play.
Bell took control for MHC, scoring 20 seconds after Meskevich, on her way to three straight tallies. First year Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) notched her sixth of the year to make it a 16-13 lead for the home team and Bell capped the scoring with 6:43 remaining. Kilburn's game-best eight draw controls proved critical for the Lyons as she won a number of consecutive draws late to allow MHC to grab the lead for good.
Westfield State opened the game's scoring in a big way, taking a 6-0 first half lead. Leading the way was Lenhardt, who scored two goals and assisted on another during the span. Bell was able to cut the gap to 6-1 at the 15:43 mark, but WSU's Meg Griffin (Granby, Conn.) answered.
Three straight tallies from MHC, including two from Bell, closed the gap further to 7-4, but Smith notched a goal on the free position with 1:27 left to send Westfield State into halftime with the four-goal advantage (9-5).
In addition to her eight goals, which now gives her 38 on the season, Bell also posted two assists, three ground balls and three draw controls. Kilburn finished with five goals to move to 31 on the year, adding a game-best eight draw controls, two caused turnovers and four ground balls, while Wagner added two goals and two assists.
Sophomore Katherine Kayser-Hirsh (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional) made a number of outstanding saves to earn her first career victory in goal. She finished the game with nine stops.
For Westfield State, Lenhardt posted four goals with three assists. Smith notched three goals with a ground ball and three draw controls, while Griffin had two goals and two assists to go along with four draw controls and a game-best four caused turnovers. In goal, sophomore Mimi Khampaeng (Hampden, Mass./Minnechaug) recorded 10 saves.
Mount Holyoke held the 36-23 advantage in shots, also leading in ground balls (23-16) and draw controls (19-13). The Owls were 4-for-9 from free position, while the Lyons were 2-for-7.
MHC returns to the field on Friday, hosting Babson at 3pm in NEWMAC action. Westfield State is back in action on Saturday, opening its MASCAC slate at home against Salem State at 2pm.
Photo of Bell courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.