SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (Sept. 1, 2012) – Senior forward Kiana Lussier's goal at 39:05 of the opening half tied the contest, but neither team was able to find the back of the net over the next 65 minutes as Mount Holyoke College battled to a 1-1 double-overtime tie against Nichols College in the season opener for both squads.
The Bison jumped out to the early lead as rookie Anjali Rowe (Newington, Conn./Newington) battled around a defender from 18-yards out and dropped it into the left corner of the net just 45 seconds into the half.
Despite giving up the early goal, Mount Holyoke stepped up the pressure over the remaining 44 minutes, including back-to-back shots from sophomores Hannah Yee (Amherst, Mass./Amherst Regional) and Tori Shaffrey (Charlottesville, Va./Charlottesville). Yee's shot was saved brilliantly by Nichols keeper Melissa Toomey (Saugus, Mass./Saugus), who dove toward the right corner and deflected it off her fingertips.
The homestanding Lyons evened the game in spectacular fashion at 39:05 as Lussier (South Hadley, Mass./South Hadley) made the touch on a through ball by Yee and outran a Bison defender. Facing a tough angle on the right side, Lussier placed a low shot into the left corner to make it 1-all.
Both teams had their chances in the second half of action, but neither could capitalize as both goaltenders put forth solid efforts to send it into overtime. Toomey turned aside six shots over the final half of regulation for the Bison, while sophomore netminder Mackenzie Randall (Harwinton, Conn./Forman) made three stops, including a heads-up play on a close shot by Rowe late in the frame.
The first overtime saw both teams miss on solid opportunities. First-year Madison Catarius (Wareham, Mass./Wareham) nearly won it for the visitors as she dibbled across the front of the box, but Randall made a nice grab to preserve it. Mount Holyoke countered with several chances of their own, including a cross by Yee from the right to Lussier on the left. The senior made the touch, but Toomey was there for the save.
In the second overtime, the Lyons were awarded a penalty kick at the 8:19 mark of the stanza after a handball call. Yee stepped up the line to take the kick, but Toomey made an incredible diving save toward the left post to save it and preserve the 1-all score.
Mount Holyoke finished with a 23-12 shots advantage, but Nichols held a slight margin in corners, 6-5. In goal, Toomey made 13 saves, while Randall finished with six on the afternoon.
The Lyons return to action on Thursday when they host Elms College at MHC Soccer Field at 6pm. Nichols plays host to Emmanuel (MA) on Tuesday at 4pm.