SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Powered by scoring efforts from six different players, the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team defeated Smith College, 16-5, in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season finale for both teams. The Lyons move to 6-9 overall and 3-5 in conference play, while the Pioneers conclude their season with a 4-12 record and a 1-7 mark in the NEWMAC.
Additionally, the Lyons celebrated Senior Night on the turf as it honored the Pioneers' five seniors, as well as their own three graduating players.
In the finale, the two teams battled blustery and rainy conditions from the opening whistle. The Lyons opened the scoring less than a minute into the game as senior captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) moved through the middle and scored low. MHC made it a 2-0 game less than three minutes later as first year midfielder Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic) picked up the loose ball off a block Kilburn shot and pounded it in at 26:55.
Smith rebounded and tied the game at 2-all as senior midfielder Simone Lawrence (Springfield, Mass./MacDuffie School) collected a great pass from the right side, and pushed it in low. Senior midfielder Jessica Lillquist (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme), who assisted on Lawrence's tally, picked up her second helper soon after as she passed the ball on the goal line back to first year attack Julia Hamilton (Williamstown, Mass./Deerfield Academy). She came across the middle for the score at 20:14.
The Lyons picked up the pace following the Smith goal, scoring seven straight over the final 19:01 of the half. Kilburn netted three more during the span, while sophomore attack Katherine Guinee (Topsfield, Mass./Masconomet Regional) had a hat trick of her own.
Holding a 9-2 advantage after the first half, the Lyons continued to gain momentum as Guinee connected off a feed from sophomore attack Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) at 27:26. Smith first year Caroline Myran (Philadelphia, Pa./Germantown Friends School) scored on the free position to pull the visitors to within 10-3, but three more Lyons goals made it a 13-3 advantage with 10:58 to play in the half.
Mount Holyoke made a goaltending change at 10:22 and the Pioneers capitalized as Myran netted her second of the game and junior midfielder Rachel Silveria (Dunstable, Mass./Groton-Dunstable) tacked on an unassisted goal of her own to cut the deficit to 13-5 with 7:50 to go.
The Lyons bounced back as Braz, first year Leila Kouakou (Leeds, Mass./Northampton) and Kilburn each scored over the final 5:55 to secure the victory.
MHC finished the game with a 39-18 shot advantage, also holding the edge in ground balls (26-20) and draw controls (16-6). The Lyons were 14-17 on the clear, while Smith was 10-19.
Individually, the Lyons saw Kilburn post a game-best five goals, adding four ground balls and a game-high eight draw controls. Guinee had four goals, while Braz had three tallies, six ground balls and a game-high five caused turnovers. Junior captain and attack Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) added a game-best five assists.
In goal, sophomore Isa Rodriguez (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville School) posted five saves in the win. First year Clarissa Leight (Austin, Texas/Liberal Arts & Science) came on in relief over the final 10:22 and made one stop.
For the Pioneers, Myran had a pair of goals, while Hamilton, Silveria and Lawrence also scored. Lillquist recorded two assists. In goal, first year Sarah Price (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) made 13 saves over 55:37 of action. Classmate Meredith Britton (Old Lyme, Conn./Lyme-Old Lyme) came on in relief and did not post a save.
Mount Holyoke's victory, coupled with an Emerson loss, sealed the sixth and final playoff spot for the Lyons. MHC will now face third-seeded Wellesley on Saturday in the Quarterfinals of the NEWMAC Tournament. Game time is set for 1pm. Live stats for the game can be followed HERE, while a live video feed is available HERE.
Photo courtesy of David Bell.