Field hockey: Women dominate Mt. Holyoke

Senior forward Erin Leydon continued her scoring binge by notching three goals against Mt. Holyoke. A near-scoreless first half left the team and crowd demanding the Jeffs score in what appeared to be an Amherst-dominated game. With less than a minute remaining in the first half, Leydon penetrated the circle from the left side and fired a shot past Holyoke goalie Jennifer Wing. The second half’s scoring better reflected Amherst’s presence on the field. At 11:58 midfielder Rachel Carr-Harris ’07 sent a strong pass to the left post where Leydon deflected it in. For the final tally, Carr-Harris skillfully maneuvered the ball past three Holyoke defenders and rocketed a pass to Leydon, who redirected it into the cage. Senior goalie K.C. Cosentino needed only two saves for the shutout.

“Rachel Carr-Harris did a great job of handling the ball in the midfield and distributing the ball in the circle,” said Leydon. “She has set up a lot of great opportunities to score.” Carr-Harris is now tied for second in assists in the NESCAC.

Leydon’s goals also earned her a position in the NESCAC leaderboard, as she is tied for fifth place in overall goals with 14. “Erin Leydon works really hard all the time and it’s starting to pay off for her,” said Head Coach Carol Knerr. “She’s definitely taken her game to the next level and become a major scoring threat for our team.”

Knerr added, “We have been working hard as a team to improve and work on the development of our passing game over the last two weeks. When [our passing game] is on we build momentum, much like we did in the Mt. Holyoke game.”

Senior midfielder Lauren Anderson felt the improvement in the Jeffs’ passing game on Wednesday. “We really came together against Mt. Holyoke and played as a team,” said Anderson. “We were dynamic and aggressive in our passing and came out strong on attack.”

Leydon also mentioned passing as a critical component in beating Mt. Holyoke. “The game demonstrated our ability to use each other and our sharp stick to stick passing … We worked well together on defense which started the ball on attack.”

Unfortunately, the Jeffs could not maintain their momentum against Bowdoin. “Bowdoin was a tough loss. They came out to win on Saturday,” said Leydon. “From the beginning they gained momentum which led them to an early lead. They worked extremely well together, using double teams all over the field in order to repossess the ball.” The Polar Bears came out fast and strong, scoring five consecutive goals in the first half.

“Bowdoin came out hard on attack and never gave up. They were a very skilled team, but I know that we have the ability to beat them. When we play together as a team we are unbeatable. I know that we are hoping for another chance to play them in the NESCAC tournament,” said Anderson.

Bowdoin’s first goal came from Marissa O’Neil in the first four minutes of the game. O’Neil then assisted Taryn King at the 21-minute mark and then two minutes later scored her second goal of the game. Colleen McDonald, assisted by King, scored the Polar Bears’ fourth goal with just under eight minutes left. Bowdoin ended its scoring with a shot from Sarah Horn, who was assisted by O’Neil.

First-year goalie Kathleen Boucher managed two saves for the Jeffs on Saturday. “All of Bowdoin’s goals were scored off of penalty corners, which meant that at least in the beginning, we were down defensively,” said Boucher.

Leydon said she feels the team has “to learn from a loss like this, keep our heads up, and continue to improve as a team, especially with a big week ahead of us.”

The Jeffs have two away games this week, the first against non-conference opponent Keene State University on Thursday night and then an important NESCAC game at fourth-ranked Middlebury College on Saturday at noon.