By Matt Noonan
NORTON, MA – It didn’t take long for Wheaton College’s women’s lacrosse team to net their first strike of the afternoon, as freshman Melanie Sharick recorded her only goal of the contest on a free possession at 28:42 in the first half, which provided the Lyons with the lead for good.
Wheaton then registered nine additional tallies prior to halftime, which helped the Lyons go onto defeat Smith College, 20-5, and capture their first ECAC women’s lacrosse championship in school history.
“First off, it’s awesome that two NEWMAC teams were representing in this championship, says a lot for the [conference], and we knew that we had to come out and play Smith 100 percent like yesterday,” said senior Hailey Coburn, who turned in four goals, and dished out three assists.
Added Coburn, “We played Smith before and we won, 24-8, but I don’t think that’s a good indicator of the strength that they have [because] they’re a great team, and we just had to come out and play our game.”
Excluding Coburn, junior Amy Moreira, who was awarded the tournament’s most valuable player, tallied six goals and won four draw controls, while senior Sidney Ferguson, (two goals, one assist), sophomore Charlotte DeSantis, (two goals, one assist), and freshman Morgan Prudden,(two goals) each notched two strikes in the win.
Once the second half began, the Lyons padded their lead with a seven-goal run, which put the game out of reach.
Smith College managed to record the game’s two final goals, as senior Meaghan Fileti, (two goals, one assist) and freshman Jessica Lillquist, (two goals) each rocketed a shot past Wheaton’s backup netminder freshman Katy Ananian before the buzzer sounded.
Draw Controls Fueled Wheaton’s Offense: One of the main reasons why Wheaton was so successful on Sunday was because of their draw controls.
The Lyons finished the game with 12 wins at the face-off line, which propelled the offense to net 20 strikes.
“The draws [are] always the biggest part of the game,” said Moreira. “If you have the draw, you have the ball, and it’s just one of those things where I get pumped just hearing my teammates yelling my name on the side, on the circle, everywhere, and I’m doing it for them, really, in the end.”
“It honesty is the most important part of the game,” exclaimed Coburn. “Amy started taking the draw her freshman year for us, and she’s been a huge asset to the team in that respect, and so they’re lucky they still have her for another year.”
Going Out On Top: Sunday’s match against the Pioneers marked the end of a four-year journey for Coburn, who was very content with winning her final game in a Wheaton uniform.
“Not many teams get to end their season, let alone for me end their career on a win, so going into the future this is the game that I’m always going to remember,” stated the senior midfielder. “Winning it with this team, and winning it with coach [Emily Kiablick], it’s been an amazing experience, and to end it on a win is awesome, so I couldn’t be happier.”
Coburn concluded her Lyons career with 284 points, 199 goals and 85 assists.