WESTON, Mass. – No. 3 seed Wheelock College scored three second half goals en route to upsetting No. 2 seed Regis College in a New England Collegiate Conference Field Hockey Semifinal matchup on Wednesday night in Weston, Mass. The Wildcats improve to 10-8 overall and advance to their first NECC Championship game since 2009.
The Wildcats will travel to top-seeded Becker College on Saturday afternoon to determine who will earn the NECC's at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Regis wraps up their season at 10-9 overall.
Wheelock controlled play early, taking the first six shots of the game and two penalty corners. Aineen Callahan (Diamond Point, N.Y.) finally reversed field for the Pride and took back-to-back shots that could not find the mark as Regis started to make some moves offensively.
With less than eight minutes to play in the period, the Wildcats finally broke through after Wheelock was awarded a penalty corner. After Courtney Scherer (Pawcatuck, Conn.) played the ball into Jen Ryan (Bellingham, Mass.), Ryan swung the ball to Maggie Lippens (Reisertown, Md.) on the left side. Lippens worked the ball in deep and slipped a pass to Abbey Raymond (Salem, N.H.) in front of the net and the sophomore blasted the ball into the open net to give Wheelock the 1-0 lead.
Laurie DeMars (Maynard, Mass.) had a chance in the final minute as she found herself one-on-one with Wheelock's keeper Cassidy Smith (South Berwick, Maine). DeMars tried to slip a shot in between the pads of Smith, but she kicked it away to preserve the 1-0 lead headed into the break.
Regis had the first opportunity of the second half as DeMars forced a turnover deep in Wheelock territory and found herself in a 2-on-1 situation with Aineen Callahan and only the keeper to beat. DeMars tried to hit Callahan with a pass on the back post, but it was just out of reach as the Pride stayed off the scoreboard.
The Pride had several break away chances in the period as Kelsey Morton (South Portland, Maine) received a pass from Callahan that left her alone with Wheelock's Smith. Morton blasted a ball off the pads of Smith, but got her own rebound and fired a shot on net that was turned away by a defensive save from Rachel Danis (Underhill, Vt.) before it could cross the line.
The tie was short-lived however as Wheelock jumped back on top 2-1 just over three minutes later when Katie Frade (Dartmouth, Mass.) found Emma Panto (Somers, Conn.) in front for her ninth goal of the season. Wheelock kept up the pressure and added two more in the final 10 minutes of the game off the sticks of Elizabeth Cooper (Mansfield, Mass.) and another Panto tally to give the game its final score of 4-1.
Wheelock held a 24-14 edge in shots, while Regis took more penalty corners (12-5) in the game. Cassidy Smith made seven saves in the victory, while Raegan Heck (Phillipston, Mass.) made eight stops on the night.