Avery plays role in both goals, sends field hockey past Mansfield, 2-1, in opener

Avery plays role in both goals, sends field hockey past Mansfield, 2-1, in opener

MANSFIELD, Pa. – Senior Carolyn Avery (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) posted a goal and an assist, leading the Saint Michael's College field hockey team past Mansfield (Pa.) University, 2-1, in both teams' season openers on Saturday at Karl Van Norman Field during the Dr. Art DeGenaro Classic.

During the Purple Knights' first visit to Mansfield, junior Jackie Matthews (Auburn, Mass./Auburn) also scored, and senior Abigail Bowie (Readfield, Maine/Kents Hill School) made nine saves, including seven in the second half. Saint Michael's won its third straight against the Mounties, with the teams squaring off for the eighth consecutive season in a season-opening tournament.

First-year Christie Buyer scored for Mansfield, and senior Laura Lawson posted six saves. Junior Emily Blidy contributed a defensive save.

Bowie denied a Buyer shot off a penalty corner 2:43 into the contest, but Buyer put the Mounties on the board less than a minute later, stealing the ball from a Purple Knight and going five-hole at 3:25. From there, Bowie blanked Mansfield for the final 66:35, and her team nearly found the equalizer in the 27th minute, but Blidy came up with her defensive stop on senior Abby Dusha (Greenwich, N.Y./Greenwich Central School).

Shortly thereafter, Avery dished to Matthews on the doorstep for the tying marker at 31:36. Later that minute, Lawson turned away back-to-back shots by Matthews and sophomore Maddy Dobecki (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough), and the teams went into halftime tied.

Mansfield held a 10-3 advantage in shots during the second half, but Saint Michael's produced the only offense of the stanza. Bowie turned away Buyer in the 41st minute, and Avery put her squad ahead for good in the 42nd, going five-hole from out front at 41:18. Avery nearly extended the advantage in the 45th minute, sending a penalty-corner shot off the crossbar. Bowie posted a pair of stops 41 seconds apart later in the half during two corner sequences before rattling off three more saves in a 14-second span in the 55th minute. Those proved to be the Mounties' final shots on net, with a last attempt by Buyer in the 60th minute going wide left.

The Purple Knights complete play at the tournament tomorrow against nationally-ranked Shippensburg (Pa.) University at 11 a.m. The Raiders, who Saint Michael's will oppose for the 15th time in 16 seasons, are sixth in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) preseason national poll.