Purple Knights down 2011 NCAA squad AIC, Hesler sets program record for career victories

COLCHESTER, Vt. - After trailing by a goal late in the first half, the Saint Michael's College field hockey team rallied past 2011 NCAA Tournament qualifier American International College for a 3-1 win on Saturday in a Northeast-10 Conference contest at Duffy Field. The victory also marked the 128th of 14th-year head coach Carla Hesler's career at the College, a program record. The Purple Knights improved to 3-8 overall and 1-2 in the league, while the Yellow Jackets are 2-9 and 1-2.

Senior Julia Heald (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Brady), junior Kelly Celata (Dedham, Mass./Dedham) and sophomore Samantha Burns (North Creek, N.Y./Johnsburg Central) all scored for the hosts, with Burns netting the first marker of her career during her initial season with the squad. Sophomore back Aubrey Deavitt (Shelburne, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) came up with a defensive save and an assist, while classmate Sarah Healey (Canton, Mass./Canton) posted five saves.

First-year Emily Kollar (Leighton, Pa./Leighton Area) scored for American International, while sophomore Kori Huffman (Brattleboro, Vt./Brattleboro Union) had six stops.

The visitors took four of the game's first five shots before Saint Michael's outshot them 18-4 the rest of the way. In the 20th minute of the game, Kollar dished a penalty-corner pass to sophomore Jacqueline Millard (Nassau, N.Y./Columbia), with an ensuing centering pass finding Kollar, whose shot from inside the top of the circle hit the lower right of the cage at 19:38.

The Purple Knights took the next seven penalty corners and eight shots in the game, including during a game-tying sequence late in the opening stanza. On their third penalty corner in a little more than a minute, and with time elapsed in the half, Deavitt pounced on a loose ball on the right side of the circle and found Burns, who slipped a shot from near the end line just across the goal line for the equalizer.

Celata had a back-hander from out front denied by the right foot of Huffman in the 40th minute, but Celata eventually broke into the scoring column with the game-winner at 47:59, one-timing home senior Kelly MacDonald's (Wayland, Mass./Wayland) long cross from the right side. Deavitt turned in her defensive save in the 54th minute off of a penalty-corner blast by senior Lisa Duckles (Netcong, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) to keep her team on top, and Healey denied another hard shot by Duckles in the 66th minute with a pad save.

With 1:11 remaining, Heald iced the victory by grabbing a rebound and potting her second goal of the fall.

Hesler's milestone win broke a tie with Anne Noone Adams, who accumulated 127 triumphs as the head coach between 1985 and 1997. Adams rejoining the program last season as an assistant coach.

The Purple Knights remain home on Tuesday when they face No. 5 University of Massachusetts at Lowell at 3:30 p.m. The River Hawks are ranked in the most recent National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) poll.