MIT Overcomes First-Half Deficit to Defeat Smith, 17-11

Freshman Kira Schott
Freshman Kira Schott

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Smith College tallied six straight goals to start its NEWMAC women's lacrosse game with MIT, but the Engineers battled back to defeat the Pioneers, 17-11, on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Kira Schott (New Canaan, Conn.) registered a game-high six goals to go along with seven groundballs and a caused turnover as MIT improved to 3-5 on the year and 1-1 in conference play. Sophomore Jessica Lillquist (East Lyme, Conn.) paced Smith (1-7, 0-1 NEWMAC) with three goals and an assist while contributing three draw controls and a caused turnover.

Sophomore Jenny Estes (Falmouth, Mass.) opened the scoring for the Pioneers with the first of her three free-position goals after 33 seconds expired. Junior Petru Bester (Deep River, Conn.) tacked on an unassisted goal while Lillquist earned an assist on a strike by freshman Rachel Silveria (Dunstable, Mass.) and then converted a free-position shot to give Smith a 6-0 lead midway through the half.

The Engineers responded with their own six-goal run that knotted the game with 4:59 on the clock. Senior Meghan Wright (Devon, Pa.) found freshman Nadia Wallace (Rochester, N.Y.) for the first marker and then set up Schott for the next goal. Schott continued the scoring spree after connecting on a feed from senior Laura Wacker (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who then buried a pair of free-position shots. Senior Molly McShane (Lake Bluff, Ill.) followed by registering the equalizer courtesy of a pass from sophomore Emma Kane (Garden City, N.Y.). Both sides made several charges at net down the stretch but it was the Pioneers who broke through on a solo effort from Bester with 30 seconds to go before the intermission.

Schott evened the score at seven after four minutes expired in the second half but goals from freshman Christina Vara (Hudson, Mass.) and junior Kate Dietrick (Petaluma, Calif.) gave Smith a 9-7 cushion at the 23:20 mark. The Engineers countered with four goals in span of 2:14 to take a lead they would not relinquish. Moments after winning the ensuing draw, MIT was awarded a free-position shot which saw junior Erica Du (Excelsior, Minn.) find Kane for the weak-side goal. The Schott-Wright connection returned, producing the tying goal as Wright followed with a free-position marker. Schott completed the spurt with her fifth goal of the day to give the Engineers an 11-9 lead.

The Pioneers quickly cut their deficit in half courtesy of an unassisted effort by Lillquist with 19:10 remaining. The game became a defensive battle during the next eight minutes as both sides were unable to convert its scoring attempts. MIT ended the stalemate when McShane collected a groundball following a failed Smith clearing attempt and found Kane for what proved to be the game-winning goal. The strike sparked a string of five unanswered goals that put the Engineers up, 17-10, with 23 seconds left to play. On the final draw of the game, Lillquist emerged with ball and went directly to net to cap the scoring with two ticks remaining.

Wright racked up three goals, three assists, four groundballs, four draw controls, and one caused turnover for the Cardinal and Gray. McShane recorded one goal, one assist, eight groundballs, and three draw controls as Wallace totaled eight draw controls. Wacker finished with three goals, one assist, and three groundballs while Kane posted three goals, one assist, and six groundballs. In net, sophomore Candice Kaplan (Arlington, Va.) generated four saves.

In addition to her hat-trick, Estes tacked on two draw controls for the Pioneers. Silveria tallied one goal, one assist, four groundballs, and two caused turnovers while Detrick produced five draw controls. Sophomore Angela Schondek (Raynham, Mass.) collected three groundballs as junior Savannah Lawson (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) amassed 14 saves and four groundballs.

Both squads face non-conference opponents on the road for their next games that are scheduled for Tuesday, April 2. MIT will visit Framingham State University while Smith will travel to New England College.