Blue Lacrosse Lets Late Lead Slip in 8-7 NEWMAC Setback To Wheaton

Wendy Nettleton (Lauren Luo '20)
Wendy Nettleton (Lauren Luo '20)

WELLESLEY, Mass. – Visiting Wheaton College scored three unanswered goals over the final 8:01 of regulation to rally for an 8-7 victory over Wellesley College lacrosse in the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season finale for both teams on a rain-soaked Wednesday afternoon at the Wellesley Fields Complex. 

Wheaton finishes the regular season with a 9-8 overall record and locks up the No. 3 seed in the NEWMAC tournament with a 6-2 record in conference play. Wellesley is now 8-7 and 4-4 in the NEWMAC and will wait to find out their seeding and opponent following the conclusion of conference play later this evening. (UPDATED: No. 6 Wellesley will play No. 3 Wheaton in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals)

Wheaton senior Angela Mallis (Falmouth, Maine) scored a hat trick and had three ground balls to lead the Lyons and is now second on the team with 25 goals on the season. Sophomore Kennelly Allerton (Unionville, Conn.) and first year Lilly Callahan (Wilbraham, Mass.) each netted a pair of goals, while senior Giovanna Bishop (Portland, Ore.) and sophomore Maddy Lahm (Lyme, Conn.) each recorded two assists. Allerton had the game-winning goal to cap the Wheaton rally with just 1:13 to play. Senior Hannah Gasperoni (Hampton, N.H.) also scored for Wheaton. On defense, senior Lydia Regan caused five turnovers and junior goalkeeper Molly Witten (Bethesda, Md.) made six saves.

Wellesley senior goalkeeper Wendy Nettleton (La Jolla, Calif.) made 12 saves to lead the Blue. Sophomore Dacia Persky (Las Vegas, Nev.) had a game-high four points on two goals and an assist, finishing as one of three Wellesley players with a pair of goals, along with seniors Courtney Peterson (Glastonbury, Conn.) and Nikki Sharkin (Summit, N.J.). Peterson, who also added an assist, three ground balls and two caused turnovers, recorded her 100th career point with her first goal 2:15 into the second half. Sharkin had a team-high six draw controls, five ground balls and one caused turnover, while classmate Mary Lemay (Longmeadow, Mass.) also scored for the Blue.

Nettleton made four saves in the early going, holding off a strong Wheaton push to start the game and allowing the Blue to take the first lead of the afternoon when Persky scored her 26th of the season at 23:15. Wheaton countered with goals from Gaperoni at 22:55 and Mallis at 21:36, before Persky set-up Sharkin to make the score 2-2 just under ten minutes into the opening half. The scored remained tied until Wheaton took their first lead at 8:58, as Bishop set-up Callahan to make the score 3-2. The visitors extended their advantage over four minutes later when Allerton deposited a free position shot at 4:17. Wellesley got one back late, scoring when Peterson found Persky with just 15 seconds left in the half to make the score 4-3 Wheaton prior to halftime. 

The Blue carried the momentum from the end of the first into the second half, opening up the period with three-straight goals. Peterson recorded her 100th career point with a goal at 27:15, before Lemay gave Wellesley the lead for the first time since the 23:15 mark of the first with her 22nd of the season at 24:57. Peterson extended the Blue advantage to 6-4 at 21:06 with her second of the game and 29th of the year.

The Blue held on to the two-goal lead until the 11:41 mark, when Mallis brought Wheaton back to within one. However, Sharkin countered at 8:29 to make the score 7-5 Wellesley. The Lyons made good on a Wellesley turnover to pull back to within one less than 30 seconds later on a goal by Callahan. Wheaton then tied the game at 3:36 when Lahm set-up Mallis for her third at 3:36. 

Wellesley won the ensuing draw control, but a shot from Sharkin sailed wide of the cage at 1:42 and the Lyons backed it up to regain possession. Following the clear sophomore Amy Livermore (Wilbraham, Mass.) found Allerton cutting in front of the net to set-up the eventual game-winner with 1:13 left to play.

The Lyons finished with a 22-16 edge in shots and a 20-13 edge in shots on goal. Wheaton also had a slight advantage in ground balls, 19-18, and an 11-6 edge in draw controls.

Both Wellesley and Wheaton will play in the first round of the 2017 NEWMAC Women's Lacrosse Championship on Saturday, April 29. Game times and opponents will be announced later tonight. (UPDATED: No. 6 Wellesley will play No. 3 Wheaton in the NEWMAC Quarterfinals)