Wellesley Holds Off Southern Maine Comeback Bid 15-14

Freshman Lindsey Keenan (file photo by Jason Johns).
Freshman Lindsey Keenan (file photo by Jason Johns).

Wellesley Holds Off Southern Maine Comeback Bid 15-14

            GORHAM, Maine -- Senior Dacia Persky (Las Vegas, Nev.) scored a game high six goals and dished off one assist as the visiting Wellesley College Blue survived a couple of comeback bids by the University of Southern Maine Huskies to take a hard-fought, 15-14 victory in non-conference women's lacrosse action Wednesday evening at windy Hannaford Field.

            The win got the Blue back to .500 for the season at 5-5 overall.  The Huskies had their two-game winning streak stopped by the loss and fall to 3-4 overall.

            Rookie Eleanor Mallett (Berwick, Maine/Phillips Exeter) complemented Persky up front scoring four times and handing out an assist.  Senior Ellie Chalphin (Philadelphia, Pa.) recorded a hat trick.  First-year goalie Lorna Li (Taunton, Mass.) stopped six shots to earn the win.

            Senior Aliza Jordan (Gorham, Maine) led USM with eight points on four goals and four assists.  Freshman Lindsey Keenan (Naples, Maine/Lake Region) contributed three goals and also dished out four assists for a seven-point night.  Junior Allison Irish (Lyman, Maine/Massabesic) scored three times.

            The Huskies split the goaltending duties as senior Hala Van Nostrand (Granby, Conn.) and sophomore Mariah Vaillancourt (Lewiston, Maine/Edward Little) each played a half.  Van Nostrand started and had four saves in the opening 30 minutes.  Vaillancourt came on after the halftime break to post nine saves.

            Southern Maine overcame a 7-4 halftime deficit scoring four straight goals to open the second half.  Irish had the final two in the four-goal run to give USM its only lead of the night at 8-7.

            After taking a timeout to regroup, Wellesley scored five consecutive goals in a span of 4:52 to go up 12-8 with 14.39 remaining.  Persky ignited the run of Blue goals converting a pair of free position attempts.

            Persky's unassisted marker with 5:13 to play gave the Blue a 15-11 lead.  Irish pulled the Huskies within three converting a feed from Keenan at 3:49.  Keenan scored in traffic with 1:44 remaining, and Jordan pulled the home side within one with 55 seconds to play.

            Wellesley, which had a 22-9 advantage in draw controls in the game, won the ensuing draw and looked to run out the clock, but Southern Maine forced a turnover to have one last chance.  After moving the ball the length of the field, the Huskies were awarded a free-position attempt with seven seconds on the clock.  The shot went high, but the shooter was fouled on the play earning a second free-position attempt with four seconds to go.  Again the shot went high and the Blue escaped with the win.

            Southern Maine is back in action on Saturday (10:30 a.m.) playing a Little East Conference game at Castleton University.  Wellesley hosts MIT on Saturday (12 p.m.) in a NEWMAC game.