Second-Half Rally Sends Blue Lacrosse Past Eastern Conn. St., 12-10

Nikki Sharkin (Lauren Luo '20)
Nikki Sharkin (Lauren Luo '20)

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Senior Nikki Sharkin (Summit, N.J.) scored a hat trick, including two second-half goals, and collected nine draw controls to lead Wellesley College lacrosse to a 12-10 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University on Sunday afternoon at the Wellesley Fields Complex. 

Wellesley has won three-straight contests and is now 6-4 overall. Eastern drops to 8-4 on the season with the result.

Sharkin recorded a pair of caused turnovers and two ground balls for the Blue, who also got two goals apiece from senior Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn.) and sophomores Dacia Persky (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Olivia Strobl (Stafford, Va.). Persky also added two assists and a game-high three caused turnovers, while Peterson also had a helper. Persky now leads Wellesley in points, with 33, and assists, with 13, this season. Juniors Mayu Kikuchi (Villanova, Pa.) and Jenny Gubner (Pleasanton, Calif.) and sophomore Lena Engbretson (Beaverton, Ore.) each scored a goal for the Blue and junior defender Jenna Mulrenan (Glen Ridge, N.J.) had a game-high four ground balls. 

Eastern senior Paige Schneider (East Lyme, Conn.) scored five goals to lead all players, depositing three on free position shots. Junior Katie Burke (South Windor, Conn.) added two goals and an assist for the Warriors, who also got goals from senior Caroline Regan (Niantic, Conn.), sophomore Michelina Pinto (Groton, Conn.) and first year Alyssa Powers (Ellington, Conn.). Regan tied with Mulrenan and Eastern goalkeeper Taylor Emmerson (Colchester, Conn.) for game-high honors with four ground balls. Emmerson also made ten saves but dropped to 8-4 with the setback. 

Sharkin scored the first goal of the game for the Blue, finishing on an assist from Persky exactly one minute into the first. Regan tied the contest for Eastern, but back-to-back Blue goals from Persky and Peterson put Wellesley up 3-1 at 24:19. Schneider tied the game with her first two goals of the game, scoring at 20:36 and 18:49, before the Blue threw in two, thanks to Engbretson at 18:24 and Strobl at 15:16. Eastern again responded with two goals, this time with both coming from Burke, but the Blue added two in the final minute of the half. Persky scored at 38 seconds and Kikuchi netted a goal with nine seconds left to send the teams into the break with Wellesley leading 7-5. Persky just missed another at the horn, but time ran out on the Wellesley sophomore. 

Eastern blitzed the Blue in the opening 5:30 of the second, scoring four unanswered goals to turn a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead. Schneider scored three goals during the run, including two in 20 seconds, to increase her team-leading total to 45 on the year. Sharkin stopped the run, making the score 9-8 at 19:36, and igniting a string of five consecutive Wellesley goals that helped the Blue take the lead for good. Sharkin scored twice, while Gubner, Strobl, and Peterson also scored during the run to help Wellesley take a 12-9 lead with 10:36 left in regulation. From that point, the Blue dug in on defense, only surrendering a goal to Pinto at 8:12, to hold on for the 12-10 win.

Wellesley senior Wendy Nettleton (La Jolla, Calif.) made two saves over the final 10 minutes of action to finish with seven in the game and improve to 6-4 on the year. The Blue had a 24-20 advantage in shots, while Eastern edged the hosts in ground balls, 18-17. 

Wellesley returns to New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Wednesday, April 12, when they travel across town to play Babson at 4:00 PM. Eastern will play at Keene St. in Little East Conference action next Saturday, April 15, at 12:00 PM.