BABSON PARK, Mass. – Junior Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa.) scored in regulation and in the shootout to lead fifth-seeded Mount Holyoke College to a 2-1 victory over Wellesley College field hockey in the championship of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament on Sunday at MacDowell Field.
Mount Holyoke improves to 15-6 on the season and earns their first conference title since 2003. Mount Holyoke will recieve the NEWMACs automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Field Hockey Championship. Wellesley is now 16-3 overall and will await word on a possible bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Mount Holyoke junior Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass.) earned 2015 NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors, recording a staggering 19 saves on 20 Wellesley shots on goal in the final. DiCesare finished the NEWMAC postseason with 45 saves in three games, surrendering just two goals.
Wagner opened the scoring just 5:58 into the contest when she tipped in a crossing past at the far post for her team-leading 19th goal of the season. The Lyons maintained the 1-0 advantage for the remainder of the first half, as DiCesare turned back eight Wellesley attempts in the opening 35 minutes.
The Blue rallied to tie the game in the second half when senior Anissa Sridhar (London, Ontario) hammered home her team-leading 13th goal of the season, scoring off her own rebound following a penalty corner attempt, to even the game at 1-1 with 22:57 left in regulation.
Wellesley finished the contest with a decided advantage of 32-4 in penalty corners. The Blue also held a 40-8 edge in shots but were unable to add another goal following Sridhar's marker.
Junior Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn.) had a chance to win the game late for the Blue, as Wellesley earned a penalty stroke at 62:17 of the second half. However, DiCesare once again stood in the way, denying the bid when she swatted away Peterson's low attempt to her left.
With the score knotted at 1-1, the contest moved into overtime, where DiCesare and the Lyons once again withstood a run of constant pressure from the Blue. The Mount Holyoke goalkeeper added six more saves to her tally in the first overtime, including another stop on a penalty stroke, this time off the stick of Wellesley sophomore Emmy Hamilton (New York, N.Y.).
With the first overtime unable to yield a goal, the teams played a second extra stanza. Neither team managed a shot on goal in the second overtime as the clock ticked down to zero with the Blue unable to score on their final penalty corner of the game. With regulation and overtime unable to break the tie, the championship game went to a shootout for the first time in NEWMAC tournament history.
The Lyons converted on their first attempt by first year Colby Newsham (Harvard, Mass.) before the goalkeepers held serve, with DiCesare making three saves and Wellesley junior Lucy Hurlock (Needham, Mass.) turning aside back-to-back attempts. Wagner then converted her chance to give Mount Holyoke a 2-0 lead, before DiCesare stopped the Blue's final bid to give the Lyons the 2-1 win.
Wellesley will now await word on a possible bid to the NCAA Field Hockey Championship. The NCAA will announce the field on Sunday night, with first round action slated for Wednesday, November 11.