Blue Lacrosse Advances to NEWMAC Semifinals With 11-8 Victory Over Mount Holyoke

Alex Berman Photography
Alex Berman Photography

WELLESLEY, Mass. — Third-seeded Wellesley College lacrosse defeated sixth-seeded Mount Holyoke College on Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2015 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Lacrosse Championship Tournament. With the win, the Blue improve to 9-4 overall and advance to take on MIT, the tournament's second seed, next Saturday at 3:00 PM at Springfield College. 

Wellesley sophomore Nikki Sharkin (Summit, N.J.) led all scorers with five goals, increasing her team-leading total to 40 on the season. Sharkin also grabbed three ground balls and four draw controls while causing three turnovers in the contest. In addition, the Blue got a pair of goals from sophomore Mary Lemay (Longmeadow, Mass.), while senior Claire Canty (East Rockaway, N.Y.) added a goal and a game-high three assists. 

Senior Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn.) scored a team-high four goals for the Lyons, who finish the season at 6-10 overall. Kilburn turned in an outstanding performance on the afternoon, also collecting a game-high five ground balls, while grabbing four draw controls and causing a turnover. Sophomore Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa.) also netted a pair of goals for Mount Holyoke. 

The visitors got out to an early lead, taking a 3-1 advantage at the 18:34 mark of the first. Wagner potted the games first goal at 24:30. Lemay then tallied the first Wellesley goal at 23:33, before a strike from Kilburn and another from Wagner made the score 3-1 at 18:34.

Wellesley rallied to tie the score when Sharkin scored her first two goals of the game at 15:43 and 13:33. However, Kilburn responded with her second goal to push Mount Holyoke to a 4-3 advantage with 12:20 to play before the half. 

With Mount Holyoke leading again, Blue first year Mayu Kikuchi (Villanova, Pa.) used an assist from Canty to tie the game, at 4-4, at 11:50. Sharkin then followed with her hat-trick goal at 7:52, burying a feed from first year Jenny Gubner (Pleasanton, Calif.) to give Wellesley the 5-4 lead. 

Mount Holyoke junior Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass.) closed out the back-and-forth opening half with a goal at 1:23 to send the teams into the locker room with score tied a 5-5. 

Kilburn notched her third goal of the game in the opening five minutes of the second stanza, giving the visitors their fourth lead of the contest at 26:26. However, Wellesley followed with a string of five consecutive goals, capped by the final goal of the day from Sharkin at 11:19, to take their largest lead of the afternoon. 

Lemay tallied her second goal at 23:01 on an assist from Canty. Sharkin then made good on a free position attempt at 22:38 before Lemay returned the favor and set up Canty for a score at 22:02. Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn.) also added her only goal of the afternoon, at 15:56, as part of the run. Courtney Peterson finished with five ground balls and a caused turnover for the Blue. 

Kilburn and Leila Kouakou (Leeds, Mass.) broke the Wellesley run, scoring back-to-back goals at 9:56 and 4:37, respectively, to cut the deficit to 10-8. However, Wellesley held on to possession for much of the game's final minutes before Gubner sealed the game with a free position goal in the final seconds.

Wellesley held a 22-17 advantage in shots on the afternoon, while Mount Holyoke held the slight edge in ground balls at 17-16. Junior Chesley Hooker (Cypress, Texas) earned the win in goal for the Blue, making four saves in a spot start. Mount Holyoke sophomore Isa Rodriguez (Columbus, Ohio) made seven saves for the Lyons.