SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Senior midfielder Nikki Sharkin scored with 20 seconds remaining to lift Wellesley College to a 9-8 victory over Mount Holyoke College on Saturday in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) lacrosse action. With the victory, the Blue improve to 8-6 with a 4-3 record in conference play. The Lyons slip to 3-12 and are now 1-6 in the NEWMAC.
Locked in an 8-8 battle with 8:56 to play, Wellesley capitalized on an MHC turnover, carrying the ball down field for the successful clear. The Blue called for a timeout at the 28 second mark, returning to the field with the ball in the stick of senior attack Mary Lemay (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow). She sent the pass over to Sharkin (Summit, N.J./Summit), who cut past several defenders and drove the lane for a low shot past the Mount Holyoke keeper.
Mount Holyoke called a timeout following the goal and despite a draw control win, turned the ball over on the ensuing possession. Wellesley was able to hold the ball over the final 20 seconds to secure the victory and clinch a spot in the upcoming playoffs.
The Blue held a 6-4 lead at halftime of the contest, breaking open a 4-4 game in the final 30 seconds of the opening stanza. Sharkin netted her first of the game on the free position, while sophomore attack Dacia Persky (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) collected a pass from junior Jenny Gubner (Pleasanton, Calif./Foothill) and fired it in with four seconds remaining and a 6-4 advantage.
Mount Holyoke pulled it to within one (6-5) to open the second frame after a nice pass from junior midfielder Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic) landed in the stick of senior captain Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School). She corralled the ball and cut around the side of the net to the middle for the quick score at 17:01.
Lemay pulled the visitors back to a two-goal lead with 14:30 remaining, followed by a free position score from Gubner to make it 8-5. The Lyons found their momentum soon after as junior midfielder Leila Kouakou (Leeds, Mass./Northampton) drove the lane with 12:22 remaining, followed by a score less than two minutes later from first year attack Mary LaVigne (New Milford, Conn./Canterbury School).
Braz went on to net the equalizer with 8:56 to play on a shot to the upper corner, and the two squads engaged in staunch defense over the final eight minutes.
Wellesley saw Gubner lead the way with two goals and an assist. Sharkin added two goals with three ground balls, three draw controls and a pair of caused turnovers, while Lemay had two tallies and a pair of ground balls. Defensively, four players posted two caused turnovers, while senior goalie Wendy Nettleton (La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla) earned the victory with 14 saves and a game-best eight ground balls.
For the Lyons, Braz notched a game-high three goals, an assist and a game-best four draw controls. LaVigne had two goals and a helper, while Kouakou, Wagner and first year midfielder Julianna Rankin (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) all had a goal. Five players combined for at least one draw control, led by Braz's game-high three, while junior defender and captain Julia Lankin (West Hartford, Conn./Conard) had three draw controls. Senior goalie Isa Rodriguez (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville School) shouldered the loss with seven saves, including the 400th of her career.
Mount Holyoke owned a 34-22 advantage in shots for the game, also besting the Blue in ground balls with a 29-26 margin. The Lyons held a 10-8 edge in draw controls, while also going 14-16 on the clear.
Today's game also marked Senior Day for the Lyons, who honored their four graduating seniors, in addition to the four from Wellesley. Recognized for MHC was senior defender and captain Taylor Hough (Rutland, Vt./Rutland), Wagner, senior defender Alyssa Tabrisky (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Kent School (CT)) and Rodriguez.
Both teams host their final regular season games on Wednesday as Mount Holyoke welcomes Smith (6pm), while Wellesley battles Wheaton (4pm).