Sharkin Nets Last Minute Game-Winner To Send Blue Lacrosse Past Mount Holyoke

Nikki Sharkin (Julia Monaco)
Nikki Sharkin (Julia Monaco)

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Senior Nikki Sharkin (Summit, N.J.) scored with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to give Wellesley College lacrosse a 9-8 victory over Mount Holyoke College on Saturday in New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play.  

With the victory, the Blue improve to 8-6 and 4-3 in conference play. The Lyons slip to 3-12 and are now 1-6 in the NEWMAC.

Sharkin, classmate Mary Lemay (Longmeadow, Mass.) and junior Jenny Gubner (Pleasanton, Calif.) each scored two goals, while Gubner added an assist to lead the Blue with three points in the contest. Sharkin also tallied three ground balls, three draw controls and two caused turnovers. Senior Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn.) and sophomores Dacia Persky (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Olivia Strobl (Stafford, Va.) all scored for the Blue, who also got 14 saves and a game-high eight ground balls from senior goalkeeper Wendy Nettleton (La Jolla, Calif.). 

Junior Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn.) led all scorers with three goals, an assist and a game-best four draw controls for Mount Holyoke. First year Mary LaVigne (New Milford, Conn.) chipped in with two goals and an assist, while junior Leila Kouakou (Leeds, Mass.), senior Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa.) and first year Julianna Rankin (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) all had a goal. LaVigne had a team-high seven ground balls, while Braz finished with a game-best three ground balls. Senior Isa Rodriguez (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville School) dropped to 1-9 on the year, making seven saves in the setback. 

Persky found Gubner to set-up the first goal of the game at 23:45, but the Lyons would eventually get out to a 4-3 lead before the Blue came storing back over the final 67 seconds of the opening half. Rankin and LaVigne countered Gubner's strike, scoring at 17:38 and 16:46 to make the score 2-1 Lyons. Peterson tied the game for the Blue at 8:44, only to see Braz score on either side of a Wellesley goal from Strobl to put Mount Holyoke out ahead 4-3 at 2:54. Wellesley closed out the first with three goals from Lemay, Sharkin and Persky over the final 67 seconds, taking a 6-4 lead with four seconds remaining when Gubner set-up Persky. 

The Blue would increase their advantage to three goals in the second half. Wagner made the score 6-5 at 17:01 of the second, but goals from Lemay and Gubner at 14:30 and 13:57 put Wellesley up, 8-5. Mount Holyoke responded, scoring three unanswered goals to tie the contest at 8-8 with just under nine minutes to play. With neither team able to find a go-ahead goal, the game advanced to the final minute of play, where Sharkin, following a Wellesley timeout, split past the Mount Holyoke defense and fired the game-winner past Rodriguez. 

Both teams host their final regular season games on Wednesday, April 26. Wellesley will host Wheaton at 4:00 PM, while Mount Holyoke welcomes rival Smith at 6:00 PM.