Kaleigh Anderson (KaleighAnd1)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College field hockey team captured their first ever program victory versus the visiting Clark University Cougars in non-conference play Tuesday evening at Leary Field. The Blazers move to 3-6 on the season, while Cougars drop to 4-4 overall.
With the win, the Blazers collect the program's first-ever victory over Clark in five career meetings, dating back to the inaugural matchup in 1992.
The contest started out on a hot note with the visiting Cougars capturing their first scoring opportunity a little over two minutes in. Clark produced their first of many corner attempts headed by sophomore Olivia Barksdale (Fort Washington, Md.), to which the Blazer defense efficiently cleared out of the 18 meter. Over the course of the first half the Cougars harnessed 12 total corner prospects to which the Elms squad defended without hesitation, in turn creating lanes down the green and keeping the cougars at bay. At the 16:06 marker senior Lauren Mackey (Dublin, N.H.) conceived the Cougars best scoring opportunity of the night as she fired a shot towards the cage that ricocheted off the left post and out of bounds. Mackey totaled a game high six shots on the contest despite being able to light up the scoreboard for the Cougars. At the 29:53 mark, Elms junior Alyssa Falvo (Wilbraham, Mass.) posted a big defensive save in front of the cage stopping a Mackey bullet by sacrificing not only her stick but her body to send the blazers into the half holding onto the tied scoreboard.
Tensions were high at the start of the second with both squads making runs up and down the green in hopes of seizing the initial scoring opportunity. At the 38 minute mark, sophomore Chambrielle Genga-Richards (South Windsor, Conn.) posted the second Elms defensive save of the contest stopping a junior Haley Mahan (Bedford, N.H.) and Barksdale give and go that could have resulted in a ball to the back of the cage. This stop was followed by a shot off the stick of Barksdale to which sophomore keeper Jillian Lapponese (Enfield, Conn.) captured to aid in the effort. With time winding down on the clock sophomore Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.) picked up a loose ball in mid field range and forced her way around three Cougar defenders to enable a self-made run down the green as she fired a shot to the high right post that visiting keeper Dani Michaud (Providence, R.I.) couldn't deflect posting a 1-0 Elms scoreboard. Despite continuous cougar runs the Blazer defense proved to be untouchable as the combination of sophomore Marissa Mizzone (Orange, Conn.), Falvo, and Genga-Richards forced the ball up the half as the Blazers held onto the 1-0 advantage until the final buzzer.
"Prior to today's game I told the team, 'We have to BE the lightning that brings the storm.' They embraced that challenge and I could not be more proud of the way we played," said Elms Head Coach Anika Goodhue. "We played to the new Blazer Field Hockey standard and with the most heart I have seen yet. The energy was electrictonight - not just from the team, but from the fans as well. We have made massive strides and we are just getting started."
The Cougars outshot the Blazers, 15-3, during the contest. Lapponese posted 11 saves on the evening while Michaud collected one on the night.
ELMS FIELD HOCKEY