NORTON, MA- Sophomore Emily Asack (Stoughton, MA/Stoughton) provided a goal and an assist, and junior Julia Atwood's (Concord, MA/Brooks School) second-half tally stood up as the winner in the Wheaton College field hockey team's 3-2 victory against Mount Holyoke College in each team's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener on Saturday at Clark Field. The hosts improved to 5-3 overall, while the visitors fell to 4-2. The meeting proved to be the seventh among the past 11 in the series decided by a lone goal.
Junior Jessica Strock (Centerville, MA/Barnstable) also scored for the Blue and White, while senior Andrea Bagley (Foxboro, MA/Foxboro) made four saves. Wheaton held a 13-3 advantage in shots during the opening half before settling for a 16-12 edge for the game.
For Mount Holyoke, senior Katelyn Frick (Lafayette, NJ/Pope John XXIII) and sophomore Shara Robertson (KawZulu-Natal, South Africa/Saint Mary's) scored, while sophomore keeper Katie Gibson (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Latin School) made seven stops. The national leader in penalty corners per game, Mount Holyoke finished with a 15-8 advantage thanks to notching 10 of the 12 corners that occurred in the second half.
Nearly seven minutes into the contest, Wheaton had a trio of scoring opportunities in a short span, but Gibson denied one of the shots in between junior backs Amy Spekhardt (Sparta, NJ/Pope John XXIII) and Meredith Spencer-Blaetz (Amherst, MA/Amherst Regional) making defensive saves.
In the ninth minute, Strock had a shot off of a penalty corner blocked, but Asack pounced on the rebound and scored. Mount Holyoke denied another chance in the 28th minute thanks to a defensive save by sophomore Tricia Chase (Feeding Hills, MA/Cathedral), but the hosts tacked on another goal just before the half. With 3:35 remaining, Strock finished a sequence that began with Atwood carrying into the circle and passing to Asack, who found Strock.
A 49th-minute penalty-corner blast by Wheaton junior back Ashley English (Watertown, MA/Watertown) was tipped up and over Gibson by Atwood at 48:47 to make it 3-0, but Frick tallied 4:03 later before Robertson made it a one-goal game with 4:06 left. The visitors had their final chance when a shot with 17 seconds to go was directed left of the cage.
Wheaton continues a six-game homestand against New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) member Wesleyan University on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.