SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Behind a hat trick effort from sophomore Sophie Perekslis, the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team posted an 8-3 victory over Wheaton College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Lyons of MHC move to 12-6 overall and 5-3 in conference play. Wheaton concludes its season with a 9-8 record, going 1-7 in the NEWMAC. Mount Holyoke is the fifth-seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament. The Lyons will travel to Cambridge to play fourth-seeded MIT on Tuesday in the Quarterfinal round. Game time will be announced soon.
The homestanding Lyons got things going early on a beautiful double-assisted goal. The play was started by sophomore midfielder Kathryn Rawson (Old Town, Maine/Old Town), who dribbled into the circle, firing the ball to senior forward Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson). Bell immediately turned the ball off her stick to first year midfielder Colby Newsham (Harvard, Mass./Bromfield School), who sent it into the open left corner.
Mount Holyoke added to its lead twice in less than 30 seconds beginning at the 8:44 mark as Perekslis (Millerton, N.Y./Berkshire School) first collected a feed from Bell, jamming it in at the left corner. It would be Perekslis again as she outplayed the diving Wheaton goalie, once again putting the ball in on the left side.
Newsham made it a 4-0 advantage, scoring off her own rebound at 12:26 and junior forward Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) made it a 5-0 margin at 17:22 after she banged in a pass from senior midfielder and captain Sarah LaQuerre (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Cheverus) from just a few yards out.
Perekslis tacked on her third of the contest at the 21:40 mark as she tipped in a great pass toward goal from Wagner.
Wheaton finally broke through with less than four minutes to play in the half as sophomore midfielder Hannah Southard (Gorham, Maine/Gorham) found the loose ball off a deflected Amelia Gage (Lebanon, N.H./Lebanon) pass, putting it into the right corner.
In the second half, Mount Holyoke continued to press, adding their eighth goal as sophomore midfielder Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic) sent a short pass across the goal mouth to Wagner, who put it in for the 8-1 lead.
Wheaton refused to back down, capitalizing at 63:37 when first year defender Michelle Connolly (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton) was able to pound one in on the left side to pull it to a six-goal margin (8-2). The visitors added their third goal with less than four minutes to play as Gage fired in a shot from close range.
MHC held a 20-11 advantage in shots for the game, including a game-best six from Wagner, who added two goals and an assist. LaQuerre finished with two assists, while Bell added a goal and two assists.
In goal, Mount Holyoke saw junior starter Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin) play the first 35 minutes. She did not have any saves. Sophomore Ally Tessier (Coventry, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey School) played 26:45 of the second half (0 saves), while first year Riani Booysen (Pretoria, South Africa/Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool) played the final 8:15, making three stops.
For Wheaton, sophomore Riley Thompson (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe) played 43:47 minutes throughout the contest, making five saves. First year Emily Curran (Cohasset, Mass./Cohasset) also saw action, playing 26:13 with one stop.
Prior to the contest, Mount Holyoke recognized the three seniors from Wheaton, its team manager senior Ally DeFranco, while also honoring their own three graduating seniors, including Bell, LaQuerre and Anna Hartman.