SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Junior captain Kirsten Kilburn fired in the game-winning shot with 24 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime to lift the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team to a 13-12 Senior Night victory over Emerson College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Tuesday evening. With the victory, the Lyons improve to 7-5 overall and 2-2 in conference play, while the Lions are now 7-5 and 1-3 in the NEWMAC.
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout much of the contest as each squad scored five goals in apiece in the first and second halves. Locked in a 10-10 tie after regulation, Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) gave MHC the edge with her 44th of the season at the 4:12 mark.
Following a switch of sides, first year midfielder Meredith Weber (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell), who also finished with a game-high six goals, pushed Emerson ahead by a 12-11 margin with back-to-back goals. Both of her goals were impressive individual efforts, including her marker at 3:30 as she split the MHC defense and found an open lane down the middle for a shot into the upper corner.
With 57 seconds remaining in the first overtime, sophomore midfielder Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) fired home the equalizer off a beautiful feed from senior Brianne Phelan (Quincy, Mass./Quincy) to make it a 12-12 game.
The two teams went on to battle through three more overtimes with a number of exciting moments. In the second overtime, Emerson goalie Victoria Kanaris (Haworth, N.J./Northern Valley Demarest) stopped a point blank shot by MHC sophomore Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) and made another big stop early in the third OT to keep it tied.
Emerson nearly captured the victory in the third overtime with 3.3 seconds left as an outstanding behind the goal feed from senior Kanika Mirsa (Potsdam, N.Y./Potsdam) landed in the stick of sophomore Guerin Morissette (Georgetown, Maine/Morse), who banked it home. The goal was later waived off due to an illegal stick to send the contest into the fourth overtime.
Kilburn then played the hero as she charged up the field, corralling another stellar pass from Phelan, before firing it past the reach of Kanaris for the game-winner.
Mount Holyoke, which got goals from four different scorers, were paced by Kilburn who also had an assist with 13 shots (9 on goal), three ground balls, and game-highs in both draw controls (4) and caused turnovers (3). Bell finished with four goals, while Phelan added two goals, two assists and game-bests in both ground balls (6) and draw controls (4). Senior Naomi Miller (Augusta, Maine/Cony) also had a big game, assisting on four goals.
For Emerson, Weber also added an assist in addition to her six goals and added a game-best four draw controls. Sophomore Tayllar Righini (Salem, N.H./Salem) finished with two goals and an assist, while senior Alex Corrado (Sammamish, Wash./Eastside Catholic) had two goals. Both Morissette and sophomore Kate Lemire (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) each had a goal and an assist.
In the battle of goalies, MHC sophomore Katherine Kayser-Hirsh (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional) improved to 4-1 on the season, stopping five shots on the evening. Emerson's Kanaris made eight stops and is now 6-4 on the year.
Mount Holyoke, which has now claimed victory in each of its last three contests, won the battle in shots by a 31-23 margin, while also edging out the Lions in ground balls, 17-13. Emerson held the edge in draw controls with an 18-13 advantage.
Prior to the game, Mount Holyoke honored their three graduating seniors, including Miller, Phelan and attacker Liz Randolph (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) for their years of dedication and hard work toward the program. Additionally, the Lyons recognized Emerson's six seniors as well for all their hard work and commitment.
Both squads return to action on Saturday as MHC heads to Springfield for a 1pm game, while Emerson travels to Wellesley for a 12pm contest.
Senior day group photo courtesy of David Bell. Cover photo of Kirsten Kilburn courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.