CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sophomore midfielder Isabella DiDio netted the game-winning goal with 1:16 to play, lifting the fourth-seeded Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) lacrosse team to an 18-17 come-from-behind victory over fifth-seeded Mount Holyoke College in the Quarterfinal game of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament.
With the victory, the Engineers improve to 12-5 overall, and advance to Saturday's semifinal game at top-seeded Wheaton at 12pm. It marks their first trip to the Semifinal Round since the 2011 season. The Lyons slip to 8-8 on the season.
Down 17-15 with 9:36 remaining in the game, MIT mounted an impressive comeback, anchored by a back-to-back goal effort from first year Hannah Levy (Yardley, Pa.). The game scoring leader with six tallies, Levy notched her most important of the contest at the 1:31 mark as she battled through the middle to stuff it in at the top corner.
DiDio (Jenkintown, Pa.), who added four tallies, struck with 1:15 left on the clock as the Engineers took advantage of a foul on the Lyons for the free position and eventual game-winning tally. MIT won the ensuing draw control afterwards and maintained control in their own offensive zone, letting the clock wind down for the victory.
The first half of the contest saw MIT open a 7-2 lead before MHC stormed back into the game. Junior captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn.) scored the final three goals of the first half – over the final 1:23 of the stanza – to make it a 10-9 game in favor of the Engineers at halftime. She then tacked on her fifth tally of the game at 29:18 to tie it at 10-all.
Subsequent goals from seniors Brianne Phelan (Quincy, Mass.) and Liz Randolph (Southbury, Conn.), as well as first year Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa.) over the next two minutes pushed the visitors out to a 13-10 advantage with 26:23 to play in the second half.
MIT battled back once more as DiDio notched her second of the contest at 25:19, followed by two straight tallies from sophomore Kira Schott (New Canaan, Conn.) to tie the contest at 13-all with 21:35 remaining. It would be DiDio minutes later that pushed MIT back into the lead, 14-13, but three straight tallies a few minutes later, including a pair from senior captain Naomi Miller (Augusta, Maine), gave MHC a 16-14 lead with 15:19 remaining.
Despite MHC holding the 17-15 lead, MIT rallied back, taking advantage of a Lyons yellow card for the goals by Levy and DiDio.
For MIT, Levy paced the way with her six tallies. She also added three ground balls and four draw controls. DiDio added four tallies, five ground balls and two draw controls, while Schott chipped in with four markers, an assist, four ground balls, six draw controls and two caused turnovers.
Mount Holyoke saw Kilburn post five goals and two assists, while also adding a game-best eight draw controls, four ground balls and a caused turnover. Randolph had four tallies and an assist, while Phelan chipped in with three goals, an assist and three ground balls. Sophomore Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass.) also added a game-best three assists with a goal for MHC.
In the cage, MIT saw junior Candice Kaplan (Arlington, Va.) make three saves, while her counterpart, MHC sophomore Katherine Kayser-Hirsh (Amherst, Mass.) stopped eight shots.
MIT owned the game advantage in shots (30-21), ground balls (18-15) and draw controls (22-14). MHC was 11-12 on the clear, while the Engineers were 9-10.