Wesleyan Plays at Amherst in NESCAC Tournament After Turning Back Bates, 14-12, in Finale

Taking the lead at 21:52 of the first half on a goal by Sophia Kim '08, the Cardinals rolled out to a 5-1 lead and kept the advantage throughout their 14-12 victory over Bates Sat., April 26. It was the final game of the regular season and secured the seventh seed in the NESCAC tournament for the squad. As a result, Wesleyan got to play in its sixth straight post-season playoff and faced the Amherst Lord Jeffs for the third consecutive year in a first-round game Sun., April 27. Against Bates, Allie Lynch '11 (#10, main photo courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com) had two goals and an assist during the initial 5-1 run and finished the game with four points (2-2-4). Four other players had two goals in the game as the Cards moved ahead by as many as seven goals (13-6) before subbing freely toward the end of the game which allowed Bates to make it close. Jess Chukwu '11, Sarah Orkin '09, Sarah Hoefle '10 and Maggie Lile '11 all caught the twine twice for the Cardinals. Keeper Rachel Stemerman '09 (#33, photo insert lower left by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography,com) came up with a career-high 17 saves in the contest and allowed only seven goals during the opening 58:30 of the game. In meeting Amherst during the NESCAC tournament for the third time in a row, Wesleyan hoped to end a 17-game losing streak to the Lord Jeffs which dates back to the last Cardinal triumph in 1994. Wesleyan gave the ninth-ranked team in Division III another run for its money but fell by an 8-7 count. When the teams met during the regular season, Amherst escaped with a 9-8 triumph in overtime. At Amherst Wesleyan rallied from an 8-3 deficit with four goals in a span of 5:40 to make it a one-goal game for the final 5:20. Both Charlotte Hastings '09 and Lile scored twice during the game to pace the Cardinal attack. The Lord Jeffs did a fine job of possessing the ball for much of the remaining time but Wesleyan did have one late final chance, only to lose control of the ball and time ran out. Still, Wesleyan celebrated a strong season and was nationally ranked about half the year. Only team co-captains Sophia Kim '08 and Beck Dorey-Stein '08 are seniors, giving the squad loads of experience returning for the 2009 campaign.