Nov. 3, 2007
BABSON PARK, Mass. - Sophomore Callie Lekas (Brewster, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal with 11:49 left in the first overtime to lift the second-seeded Wellesley College Blue to a thrilling 1-0 victory over third-seeded Wheaton College in the semifinals of the 2007 NEWMAC Field Hockey Championship Tournament at Babson College's MacDowell Field on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, Wellesley (13-5) advances to Sunday's championship game at Babson, where the Blue will take on fourth-seeded Springfield College after the Pride upset the top-seeded Beavers in Saturday's first semifinal matchup. Meanwhile, Wheaton fell to 13-6 with the loss.
Amid pouring rain and strong winds, both teams struggled offensively throughout the contest, thanks to outstanding defensive play and stellar goalkeeping at both ends. Despite being outshot 6-3 in the first half, Wheaton had the better of the chances with eight penalty corners, including seven straight during an 11-minute stretch early in the period. However, the Wellesley defense allowed just two shots during that stretch, both of which were saved by junior co-captain Emily Hewitt (Alexandria, Va.). Meanwhile, the Blue would record all five of their first-half penalty corners in the final eight minutes of play, but Lyons first-year keeper Cameron Abel (Windham, N.H.) denied their only shot attempt on goal as the contest went into halftime tied at 0-0.
The best chances for both teams in the second half came in the final 11 minutes of regulation, beginning when Wheaton senior co-captain Sara Dimick (Cumberland, Maine) hit a rocket off the right post at the 59-minute mark. Lyons' sophomore Alex Block (Saratoga, Calif.) later fired a shot on a penalty corner from the left side, but Hewitt made the save with five and a half minutes left. Wellesley then put two shots on net in the final 27 seconds of the half, but Abel turned away both attempts to send the contest into overtime.
Wheaton's only shot of the extra session came 1:25 into the period, when Dimick's shot from the top of the circle was blocked by a defender. Lekas would win it for Wellesley moments later, when she picked up a loose ball on the left side and carried it into the circle. The sophomore forward made a nice move to slip past a charging defender and then hit a shot toward the front of the cage, where it deflected off a defender's stick and into the lower right corner for the game's only goal at 73:11. It was her team-leading 15th goal of the season and her fifth game-winning score.
Hewitt made five saves to earn her ninth shutout of the season for Wellesley, while Abel made six stops in a valiant effort in defeat for Wheaton.