WELLESLEY, Mass. – No. 10 Wellesley College field hockey opened New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play with a 4-1 victory over visiting Wheaton (Mass.) on Saturday afternoon. Wellesley improves to 5-0 (1-0 NEWMAC), handing the Lyons, 5-1 (0-1 NEWMAC), their first setback of the season.
The Blue applied constant pressure throughout the first half, breaking through for a pair of goals thanks to a 21-0 advantage in shots. In all, the Blue finished the contest with a 32-5 edge in shots and totaled a 13-2 advantage in penalty corners.
Sophomore Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn.) got the Blue on the board at 15:14, scoring her third of the season when she jumped on a rebound in front after inserting the ball on Wellesley's fourth penalty corner opportunity. The Wellesley lead would double just over six minutes later when first year Rachel Hwang (Campbell, Calif.) put away a pass from senior Anissa Sridhar (London, Ontario, Canada).
Wellesley's first half lead might have been larger if not for the efforts of Wheaton's Salena Helmreich (Sanford, Maine), the junior defender finished with four defensive saves in the contest, including three in the first half. The first one came on a great diving play in front to slap the ball off the goal line.
Wellesley junior Nikki Sharkin (Summit, N.J.) made the score 3-0 at 47:21, as a deflection sent her slap shot from the top of the arc up and over the head of Wheaton goalkeeper Riley Thompson (Fairfield, Conn.), after the ball had been played in on a penalty corner by senior Hannah Flesh (Rockville, Md.).
Flesch now has 31 career assists, ranking her in the top five among active players in the NCAA. She would later add a goal of her own, redirecting a crossing pass from Hwang at 50:36 to put the Blue ahead comfortably, 4-0.
Wheaton got on the board late, taking advantage of their final penalty corner chance when junior Amalie Gage (Lebanon, N.H.) deflected in a drive from sophomore Katie Peters (Medway, Mass.) after inserting the ball to start the play.
Thompson totaled 18 saves for the Lyons, including 16 in the first half. Wellesley junior Lucy Hurlock (Needham, Mass.) made three saves for the Blue, all after halftime.
Wellesley will return to non-conference play in its next game, as the Blue will travel to Connecticut College for a 6:30 PM contest on Thursday, September 24. Wheaton will play at Simmons on Tuesday, September 22, at 7:00 PM.