October 23, 2011

Lyons defeat Clark 3-2 to keep NEWMAC playoff hopes alive

WORCESTER, Mass. - Senior Emily Asack (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton) and junior Gillian Mann  (Burlington, Vt./Williston Northampton School) scored second-half goals to break a 1-1 halftime tie and propel the Wheaton College field hockey team to a 3-2 win over Clark University in a key New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest Sunday afternoon.

The win lifts the Lyons to 9-8 on the season and 4-4 in the conference, keeping them in the hunt for a NEWMAC playoff berth. The loss extends the Cougars losing streak to three games and drops them to 8-5 (2-5 NEWMAC) following a 7-1 start. As a result, Clark has been eliminated from playoff contention.

Clark jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on junior Mel Melkonian's (Worcester, Mass./Saint Peter Marian) 24th goal of the season 17:50 into the contest. Wheaton answered less than eight minutes later when sophomore Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) sent a pass to classmate Emily Chick (Bangor, Maine/Bangor), who banged in her seventh goal of the season at 25:31.

Early in the second half, Asack gave the Lyons a 2-1 lead with she turned a pass from Chick into her 14th goal of the season and third in two games at 39:21. In the process, she moved into a tie for second-place on the school's all-time scoring list with 100 points. Less than three minutes later, Mann collected a loose ball in front of the Clark cage and smacked home an unassisted marker at 41:53.

The Cougars trimmed their deficit to one on Melkonian's second tally of the afternoon at 53:05 and had an opportunity to tie the game with less than five minutes remaining. Melkonian and junior Madeleine Lutts (Salem, Mass./Salem) broke in 2-on-1 but were unable to execute a give-and-go.

Wheaton sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Massengill (Amherst, Mass./Amherst) made nine saves to earn her eighth win of the season for the Lyons. Senior Kate McGrath (Wilmington, Mass./Wilmington) made three saves for Clark, which outshot Wheaton 11-8 and held an 11-7 edge in penalty corners.

"Everyone stepped up today and played their 'A' game in a must-win situation," said Lyons head coach Rebecca Begley. "This weekend, we came from behind to win two tough conference matches. Our team is peaking at the end, so we are looking forward to next weekend to see how everything shakes out with the tournament standings.

The Lyons wrap up their regular season with a 1 p.m. game at Union College on Saturday. The Cougars play at Framingham State Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

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