Field hockey beats Clark to go undefeated in NEWMAC play

By EDEN LITTRELL ’14, Sports and Wellness Editor

Blue field hockey, which recently earned top seed in the NEWMAC championship, practices in preparation for postseason competition.

                   By Kate McConnell                                                   Blue field hockey, which recently earned top seed in the NEWMAC championship, practices in preparation for postseason competition.

 

On Saturday Oct. 26, field hockey beat the Clark Cougars 3-0 to go 8-0 in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). This record helped the team secure the top seed for the NEWMAC championship. This position allows Wellesley to host a game on Nov. 9, and then another on Nov. 10 if the Blue makes it to the finals.

Clark held off the Blue for 25 minutes, despite Wellesley maintaining possession for most of that time and keeping play on Clark’s half of the field.

“We knew Clark was a tough, scrappy team,” coach Julia King said.

It took some sibling magic for the ball to find the back of the goal. Meghan Peterson ’15 delivered a beautiful assist to her sister, Courtney Peterson ’17, who took the opportunity to score.

“It’s great having sisters on the team,” captain Brit Mscisz ’14 said. “It is always amusing. They joke around with each other but can also be very honest. They are able to critique each other without taking anything personally.”

Clark attempted a counter-attack soon after the goal, which was soon squelched by the Wellesley defense. Wellesley continued to push Clark for the remainder of the first half with renewed aggression, forcing five penalty corners and taking four shots, but Clark’s goalkeeper and a strong defense continually denied the Blue.

The halftime break wasn’t kind to Clark. Less than a minute into the second half, Lallie Lukens ’15 scored, as Clark’s defense was still be on the sidelines mentally.

It would have been easy for Clark to collapse at that point, especially as the team hadn’t even managed to take a shot on goal in the first half. Clark barely crossed the halfway line, but was able to hold Wellesley to just one more goal, scored by Nathalie Gruet ’15 off an assist by Anissa Sridhar ’16.

The three goals from three different players reflect the ability of Wellesley to attack from any angle, which is part of the reason why the team has been so successful throughout the season.

“My favorite part was definitely how we played as a unit. Our style of play focuses on playing as a team, and that was really evident in this game,” captain Kaitlyn Kirkaldy ’14 said.

King also stressed the importance of teamwork.

“We have a great balance across class years and across positions,” said King.

The game against Clark occurred on Senior Day for field hockey. The team celebrated Kirkaldy and Mscisz, the two seniors on the team, by making posters, chalking, hanging streamers and presenting gifts to remember field hockey by.

“Brit [Mscisz] has been outstanding in goal throughout the season and has been in the top ten in the country,” King said. “KK [Kirkaldy] has risen to the occasion in some of our biggest games.”

While the team has one game left in the regular season, the Blue have played all of their conference games and are undefeated in the NEWMAC.

“It’s really exciting to be the top seed in NEWMACs,” King said. “One huge benefit is we get to host the tournament. Being on home turf is such an advantage. Surface is very important in field hockey.”

The win against Clark gives Wellesley a 15-2 record, and the team has given up less than .6 of a goal per game, making the Blue strong contenders for a lengthy postseason.

“I’m so proud to be a part of this team and am so excited for the rest of our season,” Kirkaldy said.

Field hockey next plays at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The NEWMAC championship tournament begins for Wellesley on Nov. 9.

Eden is a senior who does not have, nor desire, a Twitter. She can frequently be seen at the KSC harassing hardworking coaches for quotes and training for the zombie apocalypse.

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