Laura Kurash '13 Nets 3rd Game-Winner as Cards Win at Conn, 3-0, Before Losing in OT at Amherst
Laura Kurash '13 (#8, main photo) fired home Wesleyan's opening goal at Conn. College Fri., Oct. 30 with a 25-yard blast in the 31st minute and Dasha Battelle '11 (#15, photo insert upper right) picked up an insurance goal late in the period to pad the lead as Wesleyan ended the regular season with a solid 3-0 victory. In goal, Kate Connolly-Smithwick '13 (#00, photo insert lower right) collected six saves as the squad shut out its seventh opponent of the year, eclipsing the school record it tied 10 days earlier.
Qualifying for the NESCAC Tournament for the second year in a row with a 4-5 conference mark, the most wins ever posted by the team in the 10-year history of NESCAC round-robin play, Wesleyan was seeded seventh for the playoffs and ventured back to Little Three rival Amherst for a first-round matchup Sun., Nov. 1. In an evenly played contest, the Cardinals fell in overtime, 2-1, the second year in a row Amherst eliminated Wesleyan from the playoffs by a goal. Amherst is ranked 11th nationally and second in New England.
At Conn, Kurash broke the deadlock with her team-leading sixth goal of the season. It also was her third game-winner of the year. Combined with three assists, she has 15 points on the year. Battelle upped her seasonal scoring to 14 points as she has five goals and four assists this season after notching the Cardinals' second goal with a header off a corner kick by Beth Kenworthy '10 in the 43rd minute. Anna Crystal '11 then set up Kaitlin Ashley '11 for the final goal in the 57th minute. Kenworthy was recently named to the College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA)/ESPN the Magazine District I Academic All-America second team for her outstanding play this season.
Making her seventh start of the year, Connolly-Smithwick got her second career shutout.
At Amherst, Wesleyan got the tying goal in the 65th minute by Katrina Ellis-Ferrara '13 as she collected a through pass behind the Amherst defense by Kaylin Berger '13 and went in on the keeper uncontested for her sixth goal of the year, tying her for the team lead with Kurash. Connolly-Smithwick added nine saves to her season total. But Amherst posted the golden goal after just 1:20 of the extra frame on a free kick.
The eight wins by the Cardinals in 2009 clinched a second-straight winning campaign and is the most by the team since the 12-4-1 ECAC Championship season of 1994, the team which previously held the school shutout mark with six.