CLERMONT, Fla. – Sophomore midfielder Leila Kouakou scored just 4:11 into overtime to lift the Mount Holyoke College lacrosse team to an 11-10 victory over Fitchburg State University at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The Lyons pick up their first win of 2016 and are now 1-2 overall. The Falcons slip to 2-1 on the young season.
In addition to the victory, the Lyons saw senior captain and attacker Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) hit a major program milestone in the contest. Ryan entered the game needing just three assists to become the all-time leader in Mount Holyoke history, passing Caitlin Taylor '06 (121). In today's contest, Ryan notched four helpers, bringing her career total to 125 and becoming the Lyons' all-time leader.
Ryan passed the mark on the first three tallies of the contest as she assisted fellow senior attack and captain Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson) with three opening goals to give the Lyons a 3-0 lead through the first four minutes. Mount Holyoke would build the lead to 5-0 behind a tally from junior attack Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) and another from Bell.
But the Falcons came roaring back, going on a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to 5-4 with 7:12 remaining in the half. Bell would add another tally from Ryan at 6:33 to make it a 6-4 game, but goals from Fitchburg's Kayla Panek and Brianna Dunn would send the game into intermission with a score of 6-6.
In the second half, Kouakou (Leeds, Mass./Northampton) scored on the free position and Bell added her sixth goal of the game – and the 175th of her career – at 19:52 to make it an 8-6 lead. The Falcons would not back down, as Panek and Andrea Comeau scored back-to-back to tie the contest at 8-all with 11:31 to play.
The Lyons once again jumped out to a lead late in the contest as sophomore attack Molly Dunphy (Williston, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) and Ryan both scored, but Fitchburg State answered as Samantha Bontempo scored unassisted and Ali Laferriere tied the contest with 1:50 to go to force overtime.
Kouakou sealed the win for the Lyons with her unassisted tally at 4:11 of the overtime. In goal, Mount Holyoke junior Isa Rodriguez (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville School) made 14 saves to earn the win and move to 1-2, while Fitchburg State's Liz Darrigo stopped six shots, slipping to 2-1 on the year.
The Falcons held the edge in a number of categories, leading 37-20 in shots, as well as a 29-17 margin in ground balls. The Lyons grabbed the advantage in draw controls, 12-11, while both teams had 19 successful clears (MHC – 19-27; FSU – 19-21).
Mount Holyoke returns to action on March 23 when it welcomes Western New England University to South Hadley for a 5pm game. Fitchburg State is back in action on Thursday when it plays Western New England in Clermont, Fla., at 6pm.