NORTON, Mass. – Senior Emmy Hamilton (New York, N.Y.) scored the game-tying goal with no time left in regulation, before junior Arielle Mitropoulos (Cambridge, Mass.) scored 10:22 into overtime to send Wellesley College field hockey to a wild 4-3 victory over Wheaton College on the final day of the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season on Saturday afternoon at Nordin Field.
Wellesley ends the regular season with an overall record of 7-11 and a NEWMAC mark of 3-5. Today's victory, coupled with Mount Holyoke's 3-0 defeat of WPI, helped the Blue clinch the final spot in the NEWMAC Championship tournament, where Wellesley will play at Smith in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, October 31, at 7:00 PM.
Mitropoulos, who also scored in the first half for Wellesley, now has five goals in her last two games to lift her season total to 11. Following four-straight Wheaton shots to open the overtime session, the Blue earned two penalty corners and sent four shots the way of Wheaton senior goalkeeper Riley Thompson (Fairfield, Conn.) before sophomore Hannah Maisano (Gambrills, Md.) found Mitropoulos in front for the game-winner.
The Blue had to rally from behind twice in the contest. Wellesley fell behind, 1-0, 6:30 into the game, when sophomore Elizabeth Helmreich (Sanford, Maine) redirected a drive from senior Katie Peters (Medway, Mass.) into the Wellesley cage. However, Wellesley countered by scoring a pair of goals just over a minute apart to take a 2-1 lead. Senior defender Fallon Oeser (Brookfield, Conn.) netted her first career goal, stuffing home a rebound on a Blue penalty corner at 15:11, before Mitropoulous made the score 2-1 with an unassisted effort at 16:17.
Wellesley had the lead until the 26:10 mark of the second, when Wheaton senior Kelsey Buckley (Gilford, N.H.) chipped the ball past Blue goalkeeper Maggie Connelly (Duxbury, Mass.) to make the score 2-2. The Lyons then had a golden opportunity to make the score 3-2 before the half, but Connelly denied Peters on a penalty stroke at 34:27 to send the teams into the break still knotted at 2-2.
Connelly (5-6) finished the game with eight saves, while Thompson (4-11) made 15 stops for Wheaton. Wellesley outshot the hosts by a 23-16 margin and had a 10-8 edge in penalty corners.
It was all Wellesley in the early going of the second, as the Blue unleashed six shots and earned two penalty corners, but could not find a way to beat Thompson. Wheaton then grabbed the lead for the second time in the game, when Peters set-up senior Hannah Southard (Gorham, Maine) at 47:03 to put the Lyons back in front, 3-2.
Trailing for the second time in the contest the Blue rallied to tie the game, but they waited until the last possible moment. Wellesley earned a penalty corner as time expired, setting-up one final chance. Hamilton took a pass from sophomore Mitzi Wiggin (North Hampton, N.H.) and lifted the ball into the Wheaton cage to send the game to the extra session where Mitropoulos won the game for the Blue.
Wellesley will play at Smith in the NEWMAC quarterfinals on Tuesday at 7:00 PM. Wheaton ends the season with a 5-11 overall record and an 0-8 mark in the NEWMAC.