Babson Park, Mass. -- November 4, 2012 -- The Springfield College field hockey's team's quest for an eighth league title came to an end as second-seeded MIT claimed the 2012 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Field Hockey Championship with a 6-3 win over fourth-seeded Springfield on Sunday afternoon at MacDowell Field.
With their 12th consecutive victory, the Engineers (17-2) won their second straight NEWMAC title, and third in four years overall, and claimed an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Maddy Wharton (Swarthmore, Pa.) was named the tournamen'ts Most Outstanding Player. Springfield, playing in its first conference championship game since 2009, finished the season at 10-10.
The Engineers got off to a quick start with six shots in the opening four and a half minutes. Caitlin Mackey had a shot saved off the goal line by Springfield senior back Jenn Califano (Suffern, N.Y.) just 2:41 in, and Pride first-year goalkeeper Timarie Villa (Mashpee, Mass.) made three early saves before Mackey knocked home the rebound of midfielder Erin Kenney’s (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) blast to go up 1-0 at the 4:35 mark.
Springfield wasted little time in tying the game as junior forward Kelly Gallo (Westfield, Mass.) scored her team-best 15th goal of the season just 8:54 into the game. Senior Meghan McHugh (Greenfield, Mass.) carried the ball inside the arc on the right side of the field and hit a long pass to first-year Katie Gill (Wallingford, Conn.) near the left post. Gill couldn’t get a shot off, but found Gallo in front of the cage, who hit a sweeping shot inside the right post.
Just under three minutes later MIT regained the lead when junior Molly Duffy (New Providence, N.J.) notched her 17th goal of the season off an assist from Mackey. Senior Kimberly Barker (Camden, N.Y.) started the play with a penalty corner, and after swinging the ball around the top of the arc, Wharton hit Mackey, who found Duffy in front for the score.
The Engineers, who held a 14-6 advantage in first half shots, pushed their advantage to 3-1 when Mackey scored her second goal of the day at 25:48. Barker again got the play started, playing a short corner to sophomore Elizabeth Dethy (Morristown, N.J.) who found Mackey in front.
MIT sophomore goalkeeper Jenna Stein (Parma, Ohio) made two late saves on McHugh, and senior Kayla Sokol (West Brookfield, Mass.) to maintain a two-goal lead at halftime.
After a defensive start to the second half, MIT stretched its advantage when Barker collected her 15th goal of the season, tipping home a pass from Duffy to take a commanding 4-1 lead with 20:39 left in the game before a flurry of scoring in the game’s final eight minutes.
After missing a scoring opportunity on a penalty stroke, the Pride cut the deficit to 4-2 when first-year Libby Hart (Chatham, Mass.) knocked home a rebound at the left post with 8:02 remaining, but MIT responded as Wharton blasted home a loose ball from 10 yards out for her ninth goal of the season to go back up 5-2 with 6:06 to go.
Gallo again drew Springfield within two when she tipped in a rebound following a scramble at the 65:25 mark, but first-year Morgan Gulliver (Stamford, Conn.) helped seal the game with her eighth goal of the season, tipping home a deflection with just 3:46 to go to match the Engineers’ biggest lead of the day at 6-3.
Klein made six of her eight saves in the second half for MIT while Villa finished with seven stops for Springfield. The Engineers held a 22-18 advantage in shots, including a slim 13-11 advantage in shots on goal, and took 15 of the game’s 26 penalty corners.