SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Simmons College senior goalie Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H) made a season-high 18 saves, but the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team scored with 7:10 left in overtime to defeat the Sharks, 1-0, this evening at MHC Turf Field in South Hadley, Mass. Simmons falls to 7-6 on the season, while the Lyons improve to 7-4.
Locked in a scoreless battle the two teams headed into overtime with excitement coming from the opening whistle. Simmons nearly got on the board just 2:52 into extra time as junior forward Julie Saltamartini (East Hampstead, N.H.) found herself on a breakaway toward the Lyons' goal. MHC senior keeper Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass.) tracked the ball, but was beaten on her right side. Saltamartini sent a shot in toward the open goal, but the Lyons netminder dove toward goal, stretching for a stick save to keep the match scoreless.
Mount Holyoke finally netted the game-winning goal following an effort by senior forward Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa.), who picked up the ball in the offensive zone, navigating it toward the end line. Dogged by a defender, she dribbled around to the left, sending a low shot in on goal that went just under the reach of Rastello for the lone score of the night.
The opening half of action saw the Lyons dominate, recording 19 shots, including 12 on goal while holding the visitors to just two. Mount Holyoke tested Rastello early, forcing the keeper to make four saves in the first 7:34 of the match. MHC went on another spurt late in the frame, including three shots in a row over a 23 second span, but despite a 9-1 edge in penalty corners the home team could not capitalize.
Simmons came out with momentum to open the second half, firing off three quick shots on DiCesare over 20-seconds, just over two minutes into the frame. Saltamartini once again had the best chance for the Sharks, finding herself in a one-on-one situation with the Lyons keeper, who was able to make a quick kick save to thwart the visitors' attack.
Mount Holyoke, which held a 29-8 advantage in shots for the contest, including an 18-7 margin on goal, saw DiCesare earn the win with a seven-save effort. Rastello was outstanding for the Sharks, posting her highest save total since her rookie campaign, including 11 in the open half. Simmons also saw senior Amy Wilson (Falmouth, Mass.) come up with a career-high three defensive saves and junior defender Eryn Melanson (Townsend, Mass.) record a defensive save as well.
Simmons returns to action on Saturday, October 15 hosting Great Northeast Athletic Conference opponent Rivier Universitiy at 11:00 a.m., while Mount Holyoke is back on the turf on the same day at 12pm in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference match at Babson College in Babson Park, Mass.