Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College field hockey team registered a 3-0 victory over visiting Wheelock College in a New England Collegiate Conference semifinal matchup at Leary Field Wednesday evening, earning a berth in the conference championship game Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats had a couple early chances to crack the scoreboard on shots from junior defender Jen Ryan (Bellingham, Mass.), but Blazers junior goalkeeper Samantha Alvino (Holtsville, N.Y.) made a pair of key saves to preserve the scoreless contest.
Less than a minute into the second half, the Blazers took control of the contest as senior midfielder Meghan Goodrow (Sunderland, Mass.) delivered a pass to the front of the goal, where senior forward Kelly Martin (Enfield, Conn.) gathered the ball and fired a turn-and-shoot goal past Wildcats sophomore goalie Meghan Lewis (South Berwick, Maine), to stake Elms to a 1-0 advantage.
The Blazers added an insurance goal in the 48th minute of play as junior defender Abby McNulty (Bedford, Mass.) put back a rebound on a penalty corner by Elms, extending the Blazers lead to 2-0. Elms delivered their final blow with 17:52 to play as senior forward Kayla Narey (South Hadley, Mass.) found a loose ball in front of the net and tucked a shot past Lewis, to secure the 3-0 win for the Blazers.
"It feels amazing to be playing for a championship," said Elms Head Coach Jennifer Ouellette. "The team played really well today, and delivered an overall fabulous game. Communication was our number one factor today, and we had crisp give-and-go to move the ball up the field, and we were smart with our passes. We played really well overall, but we just need to clean up a couple minor things and continue to play EC hockey. The championship will of course be a big game. Regis defeated us last year, but we've already beaten them when we faced off this season, so I expect it to be a great game to watch. It will be a home game for us, and we are pumped to be playing for the championship on Saturday."
Elms edged the Wildcats in shots, 22-8, during the contest. Alvino stopped five shots from the Blazers, while Lewis made a game-high 12 saves in her first career game.
The Blazers improved to 6-14 on the season, while Wheelock College finishes the season at 4-11 overall. Elms advances to face Regis College in the NECC Championship game after the fourth-seeded Pride defeated top-seeded Becker College, 2-1, Wednesday afternoon. The Championship game will be played at Leary Field Saturday afternoon.
ELMS FIELD HOCKEY