BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior goalkeeper Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass.) finished with 19 saves and classmate Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa.) scored early in the first half and once more in the shootout as fifth-seeded Mount Holyoke College outlasted second-seeded Wellesley College, 2-1, to win the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon at MacDowell Field.
With its 10th win in the last 11 games, Mount Holyoke (15-6) claimed its first conference tournament title since 2003, and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Wellesley (16-3), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped, must now wait to see if they earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
DiCesare, who earned NEMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, was superb all day for the Lyons. She made 11 of her 19 stops in the second half and the overtime periods, including denying a pair of penalty stroke chances late in the game.
Wagner scored the only Mount Holyoke goal of regulation just 5:58 into the contest when she tipped a deflected cross out of the air and inside the far post for her team-leading19th marker of the season. The Blue finally got on the board in the 47th minute as senior Anissa Sridhar (London, Ontario) poked home her own rebound following three straight penalty corners to tie the match at 1-1.
Wellesley dominated the remainder of regulation and the first overtime period, but was unable to beat DiCesare. She dove to her left to stop a penalty stroke by Blue junior Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn.) with 7:43 left in regulation, and then made a kick save on Peterson with 16 seconds left in the second half after she got a clean look from the left side of the arc.
DiCesare stopped her second penalty stroke of the afternoon at the 72:59 mark, again diving to her left on sophomore Emmy Hamilton's (New York, N.Y.) attempt. She later turned away three more shots by Peterson and finished the 15-minute period with six stops.
Neither team attempted a shot in the second overtime, pushing the game to a shootout. First-year Colby Newsham (Harvard, Mass.) scored on the first attempt for the Lyons, and Wagner later added the clincher as DiCesare held the Blue off the board in four attempts.
Junior goalkeeper Lucy Hurlock (Needham, Mass.) finished with four saves for Wellesley, which finished with a 40-8 edge in shots and a 32-4 advantage in penalty corners.
More details will follow soon regarding the Lyons opponent for the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Wedneday with the First Round.
Game story courtesy of Jeremy Viens, Babson Athletic Communications Director. Interior photo courtesy of Chris Wraight, cover photo by MHC Sports Information.