Down by one with a minute left, the women’s lacrosse team was facing elimination in the quarterfinals of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Tournament. Samantha F. O’Keefe ’09 and the MIT offense wouldn’t stay down though, as O’Keefe scored two goals in the final minute to propel MIT to its first semifinal since 1995.
The no. 5 seeded MIT escaped 13-12 against no. 4 seeded Wheaton College, avenging a loss earlier this season to its conference opponent. Wheaton edged MIT 17–16 in their first meeting on April 15.
Both sides traded the momentum back and forth throughout the first half. After Wheaton pulled ahead to a 3-0 lead, O’Keefe broke through for MIT, scoring its first goal. That was quickly followed by scores from Stephanie V. Brenman ’09 and Laura C. Watson ’08 to tie the game at three.
Erica W. Little ’11, Casey M. Flynn ’10, and Molly A. McCartin ’11 also got on the board for MIT, as the half ended tied at 7. Wheaton then came out strong in the second half and took the lead 9-7.
Flynn slowed down Wheaton’s attack with a goal at 15:38, but Wheaton followed that with another two goals to take the lead 11-8.
Knowing that this could be their last game of the season, MIT fought back and rallied to get the score to 12-11. That’s when O’Keefe took over and scored the last two goals in just a 10.7 seconds span for the win.
O’Keefe finished the game with five points, leading MIT with four goals. Flynn also had five points, while Erica W. Little ’11 had a hat trick and an assist. Monique T. Squiers ’11 stepped up in net towards the end of the game and finished with a total of four saves. The rookie Squiers gave up only one goal in the final thirteen minutes of the game.
Next up on Saturday for the Engineers is nationally ranked Babson College, who is the top seed in the NEWMAC tournament. MIT played Babson earlier this season on April 8, when they lost 23-13.