SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Sophomore midfielder Nikki Sharkin recorded a game-best four goals to lead Wellesley College past Mount Holyoke College, 11-5, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) lacrosse action on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Blue move to 7-4 and 4-3 in conference play, while the Lyons slip to 5-9 and 2-5 in the NEWMAC.
Sharkin (Summit, N.J./Summit) got things going for the Blue just two minutes into the contest as she cut through the middle and fired a shot over the shoulder of MHC keeper Isa Rodriguez (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville School). Wellesley continued to gain momentum as tallies from junior attack Nicole DeCanio (Weston, Conn./Weston) and first year midfielder Jenny Gubner (Pleasanton, Calif./Foothill) made it a 3-0 advantage for the visitors with 19:29 to go in the opening stanza.
The Lyons retaliated as sophomore attack Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) converted a great pass from the goal line by junior captain Catherine Ryan (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow). Less than a minute later, MHC pulled to within one (3-2) as senior captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) sent a long pass across the offensive box, which Ryan collected and shot low.
Despite the momentum, Mount Holyoke could not hold off the Blue, who went on a 3-0 run to conclude the opening half, including a goal and an assist from senior attack Claire Canty (East Rockaway, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy).
Holding a 6-2 lead at half, the Blue came out firing once more, building up an 8-2 lead in the opening four minutes. Sharkin scored on the free position, while Gubner converted an outstanding feed from Canty at 26:19.
The Lyons got a pair back as first year midfielder Leila Kouakou (Leeds, Mass./Northampton) notched a free position tally and Wagner added an outstanding goal off a pass from the right side by Ryan to make it an 8-4 game with 21:05 to go.
Wellesley answered quickly as Sharkin scored back-to-back tallies, including one assisted by Canty – who had a game-best four assists – to make it a 10-4 game. Mount Holyoke was able to pull within five (10-5) as first year midfielder Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic) notched her first career goal, but the Blue capped the game's scoring at 15:33 on a free position goal from sophomore attack Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury).
For the game, Wellesley finished with a 21-15 advantage in shots, while Mount Holyoke held the edge in draw controls, 12-6. Both teams had 16 ground balls in the contest and each recorded two free position goals.
Sharkin notched four tallies, while Canty added a goal and four assists. Gubner finished with three goals and DeCanio had a goal and a helper. Earning the victory was sophomore keeper Wendy Nettleton (La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla), who stopped seven shots on the afternoon.
Mount Holyoke saw Wagner finish with two goals. Ryan added a goal and two assists, while in the goal, Rodriguez had eight stops to shoulder the loss.
The Lyons will close out their regular season schedule on Wednesday when it hosts Smith at 6pm. MHC needs a victory against the Smith and an Emerson loss to Springfield to secure a spot in the upcoming conference playoffs. Wellesley also concludes its regular season on Wednesday, hosting Wheaton at 4pm. The Blue clinched their spot in the playoffs with today's win.
Photo of Braz courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.