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Field Hockey Wins Its First-Ever New-8 Title

By Catherine Mangion
Team Member
Northampton, Mass.

This weekend the MIT field hockey team captured its first ever New England Women's Eight Conference Championship, held at Smith College, by defeating Wellesley College in the semifinals, and Babson College in the finals. MIT won both games by a score of 10.

Saturday's semifinals matchups featured No. 1 seed Wellesley College versus No. 4 seed MIT, and No. 2 seed Babson against No. 6 seed Smith College.

The first game was an extremely intense and close fought competition. MIT's defense shut down the Wellesley offense in the first period, allowing Wellesley to take only three shots at the MIT goal. The MIT offense took nine shots at the Wellesley cage but were stymied by the Wellesley defense.

The game continued to be highly competitive in the second half. Wellesley came extremely close to scoring a goal when one of its players broke away and got by the MIT defense. She poked the ball past goalie Laura Walker '97 for what seemed to be a certain goal when co-captain Catherine Mangion '95 came from behind the Wellesley player to save the ball, and clear it to the 50-yard mark with a hard drive. This sparked the entire MIT team, which became relentless in its efforts to score.

Despite having struggled earlier in the game with its offensive penalty corners, MIT's winning goal came during a corner with 15 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the game. Mangion started the play by sending the ball to Katherine Merrilees '97 who pushed the ball across the circle to co-captain Meera Saini '95, who was waiting. Saini drove the ball into the right side of the cage past the Wellesley goalkeeper.

Wellesley, however, did not give up and continued to put pressure on the MIT defense. In the last two minutes of the game Wellesley had four consecutive penalty corners in a row. Despite these opportunities, Wellesley players seemed to succumb to the pressure of time running out, as their hits became increasingly erratic.

Babson slides by Smith

Before reaching the finals, Babson faced Smith, last year's NEW-8 champion, in a rematch of last year's final. Babson scored less than six minutes into the game.

Until Babson scored again off of a controversial penalty corner with about six minutes remaining in the second period, Smith dominated the game. Shots by the Smith offense either missed by only a few inches or hit the post.

Late in the first half Smith player Lisa Cook almost scored in a breakaway play, but collided into the Babson goalkeeper. In her collision with Jen Archambault, Cook was hit by Archambault's stick. Cook went after the goalie and hit her helmet.

The umpires quickly intervened and gave Cook a yellow card. Cook was sent out of the game until the referees felt she was ready to play again. Smith was forced to play one player down for approximately 10 minutes. Despite Smith's valiant efforts Babson prevailed 20 and moved on to the finals.

Final against Babson

Prior to the finals game between MIT and Babson, the NEW-8 championship had been won once by Wellesley, four times by Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and twice by Smith. Neither Babson nor MIT had ever won the championship. Last year Babson had also been the No. 2 seed and had lost to Smith in its first trip to the finals, while MIT had never reached the final round of play before.

At the beginning of the game Babson seemed to be very tense and played tentatively. MIT quickly capitalized upon Babson's errors and scored what ultimately turned out to be the winning goal only 6:13 into the game.

On the first penalty corner Mangion hit the ball out to Pattie Hahn '96. In a move that surprised the Babson defense Hahn drove the ball to the left side of the cage where it was knocked in by Carla Oshiro '95.

For the rest of the game there were intense efforts to score by both sides and neither team let up. Walker had an outstanding game in goal, coming up with a number of clutch saves. Wendy Silverberg '96 did an excellent job of shutting down Babson's leading scorer. The entire MIT squad did an incredible job in MIT's defensive end, allowing Babson to take only four shots at the MIT goal.

In the award ceremonies following the game Mangion and Saini accepted two plaques on behalf of the team. One plaque was given to MIT for winning the championship while the other plaque listed all the teams that had ever won the NEW-8 and the years in which they had won. MIT will keep this second plaque until next year's tournament.

Coach Cheryl Silva was thrilled with the results of the game and described this year's team as the best team she has ever coached.

The members of the 1994 NEW-8 Champion team are: forwards Oshiro, Daphne Karydas G, Saini, Juintow Lin '95, Ann Torres '96, Stephanie Maifert '98, Sohah Iqbal '98, and Anshu Sinha '98; midfielders Hahn, Mangion, Kim Levis '98, Beverly Jones '97; halfbacks Silverberg, Merrilees, Ellen Hwang '97; and goalkeeper Walker.