SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Senior Avia Jacobs fired in a penalty shot in the 85th minute to give Mount Holyoke College a 2-1 victory over Simmons University in the season and home opener on Saturday. The Lyons are 1-0 on the young season, while the Sharks slip to 0-2.
Following a scoreless opening half, which saw Simmons record a decisive 11-3 shot margin, the Lyons struck first on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute. Jacobs (Calabasas, Calif./Sierra Canyon) sent in a perfect cross on a corner attempt, which was played by Sharks senior goalie Lauren Williams (Bowdoinham, Maine/Mount Ararat).
Blocking the shot out toward the middle, the ball sailed past one of Williams' own defenders to the foot of MHC senior captain Dale Leonheart (Petaluma, Calif./St. Vincent de Paul). Gaining control, Leonheart sent a high shot into the top right corner for the goal.
Simmons answered in the 79th minute though, tying the score at 1-all on a shot from senior midfielder Ciara Forde (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy). Both teams looked to gain control in the Lyons end, but MHC could not gain control as senior defender Erin Fleming (West Boylston, Mass./West Boylston) got the ball on the right side for the Sharks, sending the ball up on the left to Forde. She ducked around a Lyons' defender, sending a low shot into the lower right corner of the net.
In a half that saw the Sharks hold another strong lead in shot advantage (11-8), it was the Lyons who came away with the victory after the officials' called a handball in the box on the visitors. That sent Jacobs to the line, who booted the eventual game-winner into the left corner past a diving Williams.
Mount Holyoke senior goalie Amanda Manaster (Beverly Hills, Calif./Beverly Hills) was outstanding as she posted nine saves, including five point-blank attempts in the second half to earn the shutout win. Williams recorded four saves in the loss for the Sharks.
Simmons owned the edge in shots (22-11) and corner kicks (3-1) in the contest.
The Lyons return to action on Thursday when they travel down the road for a 5pm match at Amherst College. Simmons is back on the field next Saturday, traveling to Colby-Sawyer College for a 1pm tilt.