ALLENTOWN, Pa. – With home field advantage at stake for the opening round of the conference playoffs, senior Megan Holt answered the call for a hero by scoring the game-winner for Haverford College in its 2-1 overtime victory over host Muhlenberg College in Centennial Conference field hockey action Saturday evening.
The win by Haverford pushes the team's record to 6-4 in the league, 10-7 overall, and into a tie with Muhlenberg (8-9, 6-4 CC) within the Centennial standings. The head-to-head victory allows the Fords to nab the tie-breaker against the Mules and bring the quarterfinal match-up of the league tournament -- against this same Muhlenberg squad -- to Haverford's Swan Field on Wednesday.
The Fords made the most of their limited opportunities Saturday, scoring on a penalty stroke for a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest and notching the game-winner on their eighth and final shot of the contest 65 minutes later.
Holt set the early score in motion getting off a shot that was saved by Muhlenberg defender Ashley DeAngelis. A penalty stroke was awarded to Haverford on the play, however, and Jacque Fagan's successful conversion provided the Fords with a 1-0 lead not even eight minutes into the contest.
That would be the end of the Haverford attack for the first half as the Mules swarmed the Fords' cage the remainder of the half. Muhlenberg scored the equilizer four minutes later with a goal from Emily Boyle then kept possession in its attacking end generating a total of 11 penalty corner opportunities and 12 shots.
The Fords' defense, especially netminder Lindsey Lopes, stood firm against the Muhlenberg pressure to maintain the tie entering the halftime break. Lopes came up with four saves during the opening half allowing just the goal from Boyle on a rebound off one of her saves.
Second half action was less hectic than the opening stanza with only a combined six shots taken by the two teams. Haverford was the aggressor with a 4-2 edge in shots, and 4-3 advantage in penalty corners, over the length of the second half. And with the the echo of the buzzer signaling the end of regulation ringing in the air, Bryn Bissey's shot off a corner chance clanged off the post to ensure an extra period of action.
That extra session proved to be a short one as the Fords pushed possession into their attacking third with their initial rush of the period, gaining a penalty corner chance late in the second minute.
That opportunity eventually led to possession by Holt who then dribbled to her right and fired a blast that beat Mules goalie Sierra Lenker to end the contest at the 2:18 mark of the period.
Lopes finished the win with five saves for the Fords while Lenker took the loss after allowing two goals and coming up with four stops.
Saturday's victory gives the Haverford senior class -- comprised of Bissey, Holt and Megan Reilly -- its fourth double-digit win total in four years, the first graduating class in program history to achieve that mark.
Next up for the seniors and the rest of the Fords is Wednesday's quarterfinal contest against the Mules in the opening round of the Centennial tournament, Haverford's fifth straight trip into the league's postseason.