PAXTON, Mass – Tuesday night was opening night for the AMCATS field hockey team who opened the season at home against New England College. The Pilgrims entered the game 0-1 after a defeat at the hands of Fitchburg State over the weekend. Though the 'Grims were looking for redemption and to get in to the win column, the AMCATS had other ideas taking the victory on AMCAT Field 3-2 in non-conference play.
For the AMCATS, Annie Melanson (Grafton, Mass) had two of the three goals on the night, scoring what proved to be the game winner in the 57th minute. Melanson also added an assist on the first goal of the game and the season for the 'Cats in the 11th minute which was put in to the back of the cage by Brittney Cherry (Worcester, Mass). Senior Sarah Coley (Worcester, Mass) assisted on Melanson's first second half goal. Freshman goalies Nikki Streete (San Jose, Calif) and Cassandra Micklesavage (Pottstown, Penn) split the game in goal for Anna Maria. In the first half, Streete faced two shots and saved both of them. In the second half, Micklesavage saw four shots and was able to save two.
The Pilgrims got goals from Sofia Castriotta in the 53rd minute and a second from Audrey Carr in the 58th. Carr also assisted on the Castriotta goal with Krissie Borrero assisting on Carr's. Goalie Christine McNeil played all 70 minutes for New England College, posting a .500 save percentage seeing six shots and saving three.
A game that started slow for both sides became exciting for the home team and their fans when Brittney Cherry scored the first goal of the season 10 minutes in to the game. Though the teams were able to each get a number of corners and scoring opportunities the first half ended with the AMCATS leading the Pilgrims 1-0.
In the second half, the AMCATS extended their lead with a goal from Melanson 50:16 in to the game on an assist from Coley. The next eight minutes of the game provided the most action with the Pilgrims scoring their first goal a little more than two minutes after Melanoson's, cutting the deficit in half. Four minutes later, Melanson scored her second goal of the night, unassisted, opening the lead back up to two goals for Anna Maria. Only a minute later, Carr found the back of the cage and made the score 3-2. The Anna Maria defense took over following the second 'Grims goal and saw the game out in front of second half goalie, Cassandra Micklesavage and sealed the 3-2 win for the hosts.
The AMCATS are back on AMCAT Field on Saturday at 12pm against St. Joseph's (Maine), the start of their GNAC Conference schedule.