CHICOPEE, MA - Junior midfielder Katie Gavin (Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA) netted seven goals and sophomore middie Molly Centore (Kennebunk, ME) tallied seven points, including a career-high five goals to lead the Wheelock College women's lacrosse team to a 21-17 victory over host Elms College this evening in a New England Collegiate Conference match at Leary Field in Chicopee, MA. The Wildcats capture the number three seed in the NECC Tournament with the win and improve to 4-10 overall and 3-2 in league play, while the Blazers fall to 5-9 and 2-3. Elms will be the number four seed in the tournament and take on top-seeded Regis College on May 1, while Wheelock travels to Leicester, MA to play second-seeded Becker College on the same day.
Wheelock scored the first three goals of the night in an 85-second span to open the contest with sophomore attacker Emma Marrs (Old Lyme, CT) scoring a pair of goals to bookend a goal by Gavin for a 3-0 lead. The Blazers came right back with three unanswered scores, including a goal from senior attacker Chelsey Grabowski (South Hadley, MA) and two more from sophomore attacker Nora McDonough (South Hadley, MA) to knot the score at 3-3 with 21:49 to play in the first half. The teams traded goals over the next 12 minutes with Marrs and sophomore attacker Lauren Mazza (Agawam, MA) each countering each other, followed by Gavin and McDonough to keep the teams deadlocked at five-all with 9:46 to go in the period.
The Wildcats closed out the half with five straight goals, including two from Gavin and one each from Marrs, Centore and junior midfielder Christina Cubera (Baltimore, MD) to take a 10-5 advantage into the intermission. The score by Marrs was her team-leading 39th of the season to tie the school-record set last year by Gavin. Wheelock carried its momentum into the second stanza as Cubera scored just 1:17 into the half to make it 11-5.
McDonough and junior midfielder Brianna Lyons (Canton, MA) each found the back of the net to pull Elms to within 11-7 with 28 minutes to play in the contest. The trend of each team scoring a pair of goals each continued over the next 10-plus minutes. Cubera and Gavin each scored for Wheelock, before Grabowski and McDonough netted a man-down goal each for the Blazers. Centore followed with a pair of goals of her own for the Wildcats, only to be matched by a pair of Lyons' scores to pull Elms to within 15-11 with 17:53 showing in the second half.
Gavin and Mazza each traded goals and then Gavin was answered by Lyons to keep the margin at four in favor of Wheelock at 17-13 with 13:17 remaining in the game. Senior midfielder Despina Savvoulides (Norwalk, CT) and Centore each uncorked goals for the Wildcats to match their biggest lead of the night with a 19-13 advantage at the 10:26 mark.
Freshman attacker Ashley Cava (Wilbraham, MA) and Lyons were the next Blazer pair to score for the home team to cut the deficit to 19-15, but it would be as close as they would come as Savvoulides and Centore countered with a goal apiece for Wheelock. Lyons and Cava closed out the contest for Elms to set the final at 21-17.
Gavin added two ground balls and a pair of draw controls to her night for the Wildcats, while Centore broke her own school record with 16 draw controls in addition to four ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers. Marrs added four scores and Cubera finished with six points on three goals and three assists in addition to three ground balls, two draw controls and a caused turnover. Freshman defensive midfielder Kaitlyn Donnelly (Atkinson, NH) led the defensive effort for the visitors with a game-high five ground balls and added two caused turnovers.
McDonough finished with five goals behind Lyons' six scores for the Blazers, while Cava, Grabowski and Mazza netted two goals apiece. Lyons also led Elms with five ground balls.
Sophomore goaltender Erika Belmore (Mattapoisett, MA) made a career-high 15 saves to improve to a perfect 3-0 on the season for Wheelock, while freshman net-minder Melissa LaFlamme (West Springfield, MA) made 11 saves in her first collegiate stint in goal and suffered the loss.