SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Sophomore forward Sara Sanaú Ruiz netted her first goal of the season in the 81st minute, and the tally stood as the game-winner, to lead Mount Holyoke College past Clark University, 1-0 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) soccer action on Wednesday evening.
With the victory, the Lyons are now 6-5-0 overall, and earn their first conference win of the season to move to 1-3-0. The Cougars slip to 7-3-1 on the year, owning a 1-2-0 mark in the NEWMAC.
Battling scoreless through the first 80 minutes, Sanaú Ruiz (Zaragoza, Spain/P.P. Dominicos-Cardenal Xavierre), the NEWMAC leader in assists, scored her first of the year in fine fashion. Junior midfielder and captain Suz Rose (South Hamilton, Mass./Hamilton-Wenham Regional) earned the assist after stealing the ball at midfield then launching the ball forward to Sanaú Ruiz in what seemed like an errant pass (WATCH CLIP).
Sanau Ruiz chased it down and found herself in a breakaway situation. She dribbled three times before firing a shot off from the right side of the box past a diving Julianna Christy (Plainville, Conn./Plainville).
Clark tried to gain the equalizer, but the Lyons' defense held strong, allowing just one attempt by first year forward Hannah Crook (Darnestown, Md./Northwest) that caromed a foot wide of the right post in the 85th minute.
Neither team was able to convert through the opening 45 minutes of the match, but the Cougars carried much of the momentum with an 8-3 advantage in shots to go along with a 4-1 clip in corner kicks.
Clark's best attempt came in the 20th minute when senior captain and forward Kara Fischer (Belmont, Mass./Swampscott) knocked the ball over the defense to a streaking Ericka Palacios (San Antonio, Texas/Ronald Regan). The first year forward struck the ball from the top of the box, but Lyons senior keeper and captain Zoe Marshall (Mississauga, Ont./Cawthra Park Secondary School) was there to make the diving save.
Clark came out in the second half with good intensity as Crook and first year defender Joelle Krause (Kennebunkport, Maine/Kennebunk) each put shots on Marshall, but the Lyons countered with a pair of shots from Suz Rose. Crook, who had a match-best eight shots (four on goal), continued to try and put Clark on the board with two more shots near the 70 minute mark, but it was MHC who finally converted.
Marshall earned the victory for the Lyons, notching nine saves, while Christy shouldered the loss for the Cougars with a four-stop effort.
Mount Holyoke returns to the field on Saturday, hosting Wellesley at 2pm. Clark is also at home on Saturday, welcoming MIT at 1pm.