Wellesley Field Hockey's Historic Season Ends in NCAA Elite Eight

Wellesley Field Hockey's Historic Season Ends in NCAA Elite Eight

SALISBURY, Md. -- The Wellesley College field hockey team's historic 2013 season came to an end in the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday. The #13 Blue were upended by #3 Salisbury University, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. Wellesley's 2013 campaign ends with an 18-4 overall record, with the Blue setting a program mark for the most wins in a season.

Wellesley advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for just the second time in program history, with the 1995 team also making an appearance in the round of eight. Salisbury (16-3) now advances to the NCAA Semifinals and will face Skidmore, who earlier defeated Middlebury. Christopher Newport and Bowdoin will square off in the other national semifinal.

Wellesley ended the game with a 14-5 advantage in corners, but a stingy Salisbury defense kept the Blue off the board until the 68th minute. Heading into the game, the Sea Gull's were Division III's best defensive team, allowing just a 0.64 goals against average.

Salisbury's Samantha Johnson led the way for the hosts, scoring the first three goals of the game, while assisting on the Sea Gull's fourth score.

Salisbury scored in the 13th minute to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. Johnson collected a long cross from Hannah Miller on the right wing, connecting for her fifth goal of the season. She added her sixth of the year in the 27th-minute, taking a feed from Katie Hastings and beating the keeper on the left to put Salisbury ahead 2-0.

At the break, Salisbury held a 7-4 advantage in shots, while corners were even at 3-3. Wellesley's best chance to score came in the 31st minute, as Anissa Sridhar's deflection was saved by Rachel Clewer on a corner.

The Sea Gulls wasted little time in the second half, going up 3-0 after three and a half minutes of play. Johnson scored her seventh of the season, completing her hat trick unassisted after carrying the ball up the right side and drawing the Wellesley keeper out.

Salisbury scored again in the 47th-minute, as Mallory Elliott finished a Johnson feed for her 11th goal of the year.

Wellesley was not without opportunities in the second half, racking up 11 corners and eight total shots. The Blue did break through in the 68th minute, as Nikki Sharkin scored her 14th of the season on a rocket from the left side on a corner insert from Courtney Peterson.

Salisbury had the edge in the final shot total, finishing with 18 total to the Blue's 12. The Sea Gulls also led in shots on goal, 13-7. Salisbury's Clewer earned the victory recording six saves, while Wellesley's Brit Mscisz made eight saves for the Blue.

Today's event was the final field hockey game for Wellesley seniors Brit Mscisz and Kaitlyn Kirkaldy. The pair, both senior captains for the Blue, boast a 45-22 career record, with a 22-10 record in NEWMAC play. Mscisz and Kirkaldy led the team to the 2013 NEWMAC Championship this season, the first for the program in over 10 years.