Wacker on Mark as MIT Women's Lacrosse Trims Eastern
MANSFIELD, Conn. – In a women's lacrosse game of shifting momentum, the only constant was the spot-on shooting of MIT senior midfielder Laura Wacker, who, in addition to everything else, saved her best for last.
Wacker reached the 50-goal mark of the season by racking up ten goals on 13 shots – all of her attempts either finding the back of the net or being saved – to power MIT to a 16-15 non-conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Thursday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Both teams entered play having ended four-game losing streaks with victories Tuesday, but MIT (6-9) won its second straight by beating its first Little East Conference opponent after two home losses. It was the Engineers' second road win against five losses and dropped Eastern (4-9) to 4-4 at home.
With eight goals already to her credit, Wacker delivered the knockout blow by snapping the seventh and final tie with her 49th and 50th goals of the season inside the final five minutes.
Thirty-four seconds after Eastern senior midfielder Taylor Buchanan (Ellington) pulled Eastern even with five minutes left, Wacker connected twice in 1:22, first on a feed from senior midfielder Molly McShane and then again on a free-position goal – her third such goal of the match and fifth free-position marker for the Engineers in the game.
The goal gave MIT its fifth and final lead in a game where MIT used a run of fifth straight goals to start the second half and move out to the largest lead by either team – four goals – eight minutes into the second half. In that spurt, Wacker contributed three goals and freshman midfielder Isabella DiDio (Jenkintown, PA) two.
Down by that four-goal margin, Eastern put together a four-goal run for the second time in the match, with junior midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) scoring once and assisting on one, and senior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange), junior midfielder Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) and sophomore midfielder Sandy Scarpa (Waterford) netting one each.
Eastern appeared to gain momentum for the second half when sophomore attack Meg Eremita (South Windsor) beat the first-half clock with a strike at the horn off a pass from Wolk to push Eastern into a slim one-goal halftime lead, but the visitors opened the second half creating their own momentum by scoring five straight.
Behind Wacker's marksmanship, MIT put 25 of its 31 shots on net, forcing Eastern junior goalie Haley Heslin (Hartford) to come up with a career-high nine saves. Freshman Paige Kennedy (Eastchester, NY) earned the win by making six saves.
Marchitto was Eastern's top scorer witih four goals, Shannon, Buchanan, Wolk and junior midfielder Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) finishing with two each. Senior defender Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) led players on both teams with six ground balls and five caused turnovers, and shared the game lead with four draw controls. McShane led MIT with five ground balls and DiDioi and senior midfielder Kira Schott (New Canaan, CT) each caused three turnovers.
As reflective of a game decided by one goal, the shots, draw controls and turnovers were virtually identical.
Eastern visits the University of Southern Maine Saturday in a Little East Conference match at 1 p.m.