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Field Hockey Topples No. 18 Alvernia, 2-0

HAVERFORD, Pa. – In the season opener at Swan Field on Friday afternoon, the Haverford College field hockey team dispatched visiting No. 18 Alvernia, by a final score of 2-0. The Fords were boosted by a first half goal from Mason McNulty and struck for a cushioning goal in the second by first year player Roxy Vassighi. Danielle Rette logged her sixth career shutout between the pipes, making five saves. Haverford improves to 1-0 on the season while Alvernia falls to 0-1.

The victory was Haverford's first triumph over a ranked opponent since September 6, 2012, when the team downed then-No. 16 Lebanon Valley by a final of 3-1 at Swan Field. Haverford opened up the 2012 campaign with five straight victories that season, also besting No. 18 Rowan in the season opener on August 31.

Alvernia came out firing from the initial whistle, setting the tempo of the game in the early goings. The Golden Wolves took the opening four shots of the contest and earned a corner in the fifth minute. Rette proved valiant in the opening minutes of the half, making three saves in the first five minutes of action.

The momentum of the half changed quickly after the opening flurry, as the Fords were able to break the Golden Wolves defensive pressure and get into the attacking end with consistency. McNulty, Lucy Tortolani and Caroline Aronowitz all had chances in the first 12 minutes of play. Paige Powell had a shot on goal in the 29th minute, and Haverford earned a corner in the 30th. An offensive onslaught followed, as McNulty was able to get a pair of shots off against Alvernia goalkeeper Emma Beanesderfer.

McNulty broke through as a deflection found the way to her stick, converting the opening goal of the contest in the 31st minute. Casey Wakai was signaled for a green card with exactly two minutes left in the first half, and Alvernia responded with an adventageous corner opportunity. The shot off the corner try by Madison Pothoff was saved and the Fords headed to the break up 1-0 after 35 minutes of play. 

The Fords gave themselves some breathing room midway through the second half in the 55th mintue as first year Roxy Vassighi rocketed a shot from the top of the circle, besting the new goalkeeper Nicole Heinze for her first career tally. The Fords controlled possession with the two-goal lead as Heinze made four saves against a relentless Haverford attack. Stephanie Terrell appeared to have the third goal of the afternoon, but a 67th minute defensive save by Kelsey Stewart kept the margin at two goals.

Haverford outshot Alvernia 24 to eight and out-cornered the Golden Wolves six to five. Heinze made seven second-half saves. McNulty led the way with six shots and four strikes on goal, while Malorie McCoy had three shots to lead the visitors.

The meeting was the second ever for the two programs, as the Fords evened the all-time series after a long hiatus. The two teams had not met in exactly 13 years, with Alvernia winning 4-1 on September 1, 2004 in Haverford.

The Fords will return to action following the holiday weekend with a second straight home game on Wednesday, September 6 at 5:00 p.m. against Cabrini College.