Field hockey blanks Saint Thomas Aquinas in first meeting, Dusha nets six points

Field hockey blanks Saint Thomas Aquinas in first meeting, Dusha nets six points

SPARKILL, N.Y. - Behind its highest goal total in eight years, the Saint Michael's College field hockey team downed Saint Thomas Aquinas College, 8-0, on Sunday at Spartan Field during the teams' first meeting. The Purple Knights are 6-8, while the Spartans slipped to 1-12 in their first year of varsity play.

While netting at least eight goals for the ninth time in program history, and for the first time since Sept. 18, 2007, Saint Michael's received a career-high six points from junior Abby Dusha (Greenwich, N.Y./Greenwich Central School), who contributed two goals and two assists, all in the first 13:18 of the game. Her six points were one shy of a program record for one half, as Lynn Taplin '84 tallied seven against Vanier College of Quebec on Oct. 23, 1980.

Senior Mackenzie Hudson (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton), junior Carolyn Avery (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) and sophomore Jackie Matthews (Auburn, Mass./Auburn) all recorded one goal and one assist. Junior Abigail Bowie (Readfield, Maine/Kents Hill School) notched four stops for her third shutout of the year, senior Morgan Mazanec (Shelburne, Mass./Mohawk Trail Regional) found the back of the net, and first-years Tess Klappe (Buren, The Netherlands/Koningin Wilhelmina College) and Katie Leonard (Carmel, N.Y./The Ursuline School) both scored the first goal of their college careers.

First-year Nicole Amerling stopped four shots for Saint Thomas Aquinas, classmate Kaitlyn Gee had five saves in 20:37 of relief, and first-year Angela Rendina recorded a defensive save.

Dusha wasted little time netting the winner, with Avery feeding her for the initial goal 1:24 into the game. Mazanec made it 2-0 by scoring on a penalty-corner set at 4:09, with Dusha providing the assist. An eighth-minute corner ended with Dusha feeding Hudson for a tally at 7:19, the Purple Knights' third goal in as many consecutive shots.

Avery nearly made it 4-0 in the 11th minute, but Rendina came up with a defensive save, and Gee made three saves in one 1:04 stretch just before Dusha scored off of a Hudson helper with 13:18 gone. Later in the stanza, Avery took senior Megan Deschaine's (Claremont, N.H./Stevens) pass and tallied at 25:16, while Leonard netted an unassisted goal just 55 seconds later.

Saint Michael's scored on its first two shots of the second half, as Matthews played a role in both markers. She first fed Klappe for a 39th-minute strike before scoring on a penalty corner at 41:27 thanks to a touch from first-year back Maddy Dobecki (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough). The Purple Knights took only two shots during the remainder of the contest, with Klappe being stopped by Amerling each time. On the Spartans' final scoring opportunity, Bowie made a 68th-minute save to seal the shutout.

The Purple Knights' next two foes are both nationally ranked, including No. 9 Saint Anselm College, which they face on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Manchester, N.H.