COLCHESTER, Vt. - Behind four goals in a matter of 8:38 of the second half, including a natural hat trick by senior Abby Dusha (Greenwich, N.Y./Greenwich Central School), the Saint Michael's College field hockey team blanked Mercy (N.Y.) College, 4-0, on Sunday at Duffy Field. The Purple Knights improved to 4-8 while downing the Mavericks for the first time in two meetings, and the visitors slipped to 3-8.
Dusha posted her first college hat trick, all within a 4:35 span, while sophomore Nicole White (Cranston, R.I./Lincoln School) deposited her second goal of the season for the game-winner. Senior Carolyn Avery (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) dished off two assists, and classmate Abigail Bowie (Readfield, Maine/Kents Hill School) made one save for her sixth career shutout. Dusha put together the first natural hat trick by a Purple Knight since SMC Athletic Hall of Famer Andrea Slaven '09 on Sept. 20, 2008. The contest snapped the Purple Knights' run of four consecutive overtime games, as they capped a three-game homestand.
Sophomore Cheradyn Pettit made 12 saves in 61:37 for Mercy before classmate Julia Amell went untested in closing out the game. Senior Jen Wandle notched a defensive save.
The Purple Knights held advantages of 13-0 in shots and 11-0 in penalty corners during the first half but were kept off the board. Sophomore Maddy Dobecki (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) had an early chance, taking a hard shot from the middle of the circle 35 seconds in but being turned away as Pettit dove through the air for a save. At 5:10, junior Jackie Matthews (Auburn, Mass./Auburn) crashed the left post and tipped Avery's cross just wide.
In the 13th minute, Dusha sent a backhanded shot that Pettit stopped with her right toe at the right post, and Matthews' one-timer off of Avery's penalty corner pass at 14:52 was denied. Matthews sent a follow-up attempt that the keeper again saved. In the 25th minute, Avery's backhanded attempt at the right post was turned away on Pettit's kick save.
Mercy strung its first sustained scoring chance together late in the 38th minute, as Bowie kicked away senior Jackie Ballin's shot before a follow-up try by a teammate was blocked. On an ensuing penalty corner, Ballin sent a shot wide left, and a corner in the 40th minute did not lead to any shots. Dusha's bid was swatted away by Pettit with her blocker in the 42nd minute, but White broke through at 44:17, pouncing on a loose ball after Dobecki sent an entry feed into the circle.
Pettit knocked away a long hit in the 47th minute before Dusha was stopped on the doorstep on the rebound, but she got in the scoring column soon thereafter. Pettit slid out to save an Avery shot in the 49th minute, but the ball got lodged under her pads, leading to a penalty stroke being awarded. Dusha hit the net to double the lead at 48:20. A little more than a minute later, Avery sent a cross from the left side that Dusha tipped high over Pettit from the middle of the circle at 49:26.
Dusha capped the flurry at 52:55 by tipping home Avery's hard pass from the left side of the arc during a penalty corner sequence. Mercy was only able to get two more shots away, but Purple Knight field players blocked the back-to-back 60th-minute bids to help preserve the shutout.
The Purple Knights visit Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday at 6 p.m.