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Kelleher Nets Two Goals in 4-1 Win Over WPI to Send Field Hockey Into NEWMAC Finals Versus Wellesley

Springfield, Mass. – November 8, 2008 – Powered by Jane Kelleher’s two-goal performance, the Springfield College field hockey team downed WPI by a score of 4-1 today in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) post-season tournament semifinal matchup at SC’s Brock-Affleck Field.

With the win, the #1-seeded Pride advances to the NEWMAC Championship game where it will meet #3-seeded Wellesley College, a 2-1 winner over Wheaton later today. The championship game is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. tomorrow (on Sunday, November 9) at Springfield College.

Almost 20 minutes into the first half, the Pride’s Jill Urtz (Verona, N.Y.) stole the ball in the midfield and pushed a long pass down the left hand side to an on-running Alexa Carlson (New Milford, Conn.). The freshman smoothly sent a hard ball through the middle only to find Kelleher waiting. The Chatham, Mass. native shot a one-timer into the back of the net.

Springfield did not ease up on the pressure, yet the Engineers’ Betsy Ray (Simsbury, Conn.) made several nice stops in the cage, including an initial stop on Emily Murray (Boonton, N.J.) with just less than nine minutes to play in the first half. Murray, however, came out the winner, as the rebound bounced directly to her. The junior made the most of the play, blasting a shot past Ray to put the Pride into a 2-0 lead, which it would carry into halftime.

Kelleher wasted no time in picking up where she left off after the break. Only 47 seconds into the second half, the senior once again converted a pass from Carlson, to give Springfield a 3-0 edge.

Meg Bradley (Cumberland, R.I.) tallied the fourth goal for the Pride, as the sophomore redirected a loose ball in front of the goal mouth, which managed to squeeze past the outstretched arms of a WPI defender. It was 4-0 with 26:45 remaining.

But the Engineers would not go down without a fight as Sarah Tracy (Oakland, Maine) smoothly maneuvered her way through several Springfield defenders, faked with a backhand shot, then finished with a forehand directly into the cage. That goal was scored with 8:37 left.

Springfield outshot the Engineers 18 to 5, with 10 of the Pride’s shots coming in the second half. Springfield also held the edge in penalty corners, 12-6.

Ray was credited with eight saves in goal for the Engineers. Alison McCarthy (North Andover, Mass.) of Springfield was credited with two saves.

The Pride will be seeking its fifth straight NEWMAC tournament championship on Sunday when it meets the Blue of Wellesley. Both programs will be vying for their seventh overall title.

Wellesley 2-1 OT

Springfield, Mass. – November 8, 2008 – Junior forward Callie Lekas (Brewster, Mass.) netted the game-winner at 2:42 of the first overtime to lift the Wellesley College field hockey team to a 2-1 victory over Wheaton College this afternoon in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinal contest at Springfield College’s Brock-Affleck Field.

With the win, #3 seeded Wellesley will meet #1-seeded Springfield tomorrow (Sunday, November 9) at 1:00 pm, again at SC’s Brock-Affleck Field, for the NEWMAC title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships. In the first semifinal today, Springfield defeated #4-seeded WPI, 4-1.

In the second match of the day, Wheaton would be first to tally in the defensive battle, as freshman forward Cara Cusson (Ashfield, Mass.) converted on a breakaway early in the second half. There was 28:01 left in regulation when Cusson scored.

Despite the 1-0 deficit, Wellesley seemed to be more in control as the Blue outshot the Lyons, 11-2, in the first half, and 19-4 in the second half.

But the Blue did not tie it at 1-1 until there was just 2:40 left to play. Wellesley sophomore defender Sally Scudder finished a Kathryn Frett pass to level things at one apiece. Frett is a sophomore forward from Hallowell, Maine.

Each team exchanged a shot in the early stages of the first sudden-death overtime period. But Lekas then took the all-important shot from the right side in traffic that proved to be the game-winner. The goal was unassisted.

Wheaton’s Andrea Bagley, a junior from Foxboro, Mass. played a very strong game in the cage, finishing the day with 22 saves in nearly 73 minutes of action. Wellesley’s senior GK Emily Hewitt (Alexandria, Va.) was credited with six saves in the same amount of time. Overall, the Blue outshot the Lyons 32-7.

Wellesley and Springfield will each be seeking their seventh overall NEWMAC Field Hockey Tournament Championship on Sunday. The Pride will be in the hunt for its fifth consecutive.