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Late Rally Lifts Women's Lacrosse Over Wheelock

Late Rally Lifts Women's Lacrosse Over Wheelock

Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)

CHICOPEE, Mass. – With less than 10 seconds play, senior Kathleen Tuechler (Farmingdale, N.Y.) found the back of the net to send the Elms College women's lacrosse team to a 12-11 win over visiting Wheelock College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at Leary Field Saturday evening. With the win, the Blazers set a new program-high for wins in a season, moving to 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the NECC, while the Wildcats dip to 4-3 in conference play, and 6-6 on the season.

The Blazers harnessed an early lead as freshman Haley Richard (Monson, Mass.) and Janis Christian (Westfield, Mass.) netted back-to-back goals in the second minute of action to hand Elms the 2-0 advantage. In the ninth minute of play, the Wildcats responded with sophomore Colleen Macdonald (Sandwich, Mass.) converted consecutive free-position attempts to even the score at 2-2.

At the 15:49 mark, Wheelock took their first lead of the game with junior Molly Brennan (Walpole, N.H.) connecting with sophomore Georgia Schindele (Sparkill, N.Y.) in the attacking zone to make it 3-2. Less than 20 seconds later, Elms freshman Alecia Keesee (Westfield, Mass.) tied the game, and then handed the Blazers a 4-3 lead with another strike less than two minutes later. With 9:40 on the clock, Wheelock junior Katie Frade (Dartmouth, Mass.) potted an unassisted goal to even the score, followed by a tally from Macdonald with less than two minutes remaining to hand Wheelock a 5-4 lead at the half.

Macdonald struck again to open the scoring in the second half, putting Wheelock on top 6-4. The Blazers closed the gap as sophomore Vanessa Vurno (Salem, Conn.) scored off a pass from junior Alissa Porfilio (Agawam, Mass.), followed by junior Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.) scoring off the draw to knot the score at 6-6 with 26:37 to play. After Macdonald and Keesee exchanged goals, Macdonald and Schindele recorded back-to-back goals to build a 9-7 lead for the Wildcats.

Trailing 10-8 with 13:39 remaining in the game, Richard found Christian on a break to the net to put the Blazers within a goal, 10-9. A tally from Schindele created separation for Wheelock, but Elms orchestrated a comeback attempt over the final 10 minutes of action.

Tuechler ignited the rally, finding the back of the net off a feed from Richard at the 9:45 mark. Entering the final two minutes of play, the Blazers forced a turnover in the midfield and Porfilio scooped the loose ball and streaked to the attacking zone. A pass from Porfilio sailed over Vurno, but Vurno raced after the loose ball and shoveled a shot over the shoulder of Wildcat senior goalie Meghan Lewis (South Berwick, Mass.) to even the score at 11-11. After winning the final draw, Tuechler received a pass, knifed around the Wheelock defense and fired a shot to the back of the net, sending Elms to the 12-11 victory.

The Blazers outshot the Wildcats, 35-20, and won draw controls, 17-7, during the contest. O'Connor stopped four shots for Elms, while Lewis made a game-high 14 saves for Wheelock.

Prior to the game, the Blazers honored their four departing seniors, Tuechler, O'Connor, Sabrina Pereira (South Windsor, Conn.), and Kaeleigh Dowe (Somers, Conn.).

The Blazers will be back on the field when they host St. Joseph (Conn.) in non-conference action at Leary Field Monday at 4:00 p.m. Wheelock travels to Daniel Webster for an NECC contest Tuesday at 4:15 p.m.