CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Maddy Wharton (Swarthmore, Pa.) was a factor in all three of MIT's goals in its 3-0 win over Simmons College in field hockey action on Thursday night. Along with a penalty stroke late in the first half, she earned a pair of assists as the nationally-ranked No. 20 Engineers improved to 2-0 on the year. The Sharks, meanwhile, saw their ledger lower to 1-1 for the season.
MIT wasted little time in putting pressure on the Simmons defense as it generated four shots during the opening four minutes, eventually breaking through courtesy of a penalty corner in the seventh minute. After receiving a feed from senior Molly Duffy (New Providence, N.J.) at the top of the arc, Wharton found senior Erin Kenney (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) on the near side for the score.
The game became a back-and-forth affair until the Sharks threatened to register the equalizer midway through the half. Junior Kelly Williamson (Natick, Mass.) and freshman Jenna Gagnon (Waterville, Maine) both found themselves on the doorstep but freshman Jane Coffrin (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) and then senior Michelle Teplensky (Somers, N.Y.) swooped in at the last moment to thwart the attack. On the Engineers' ensuing trip down the field, Duffy almost increased their margin; however, senior goalie Renna Smith (Belfast, Maine) made a diving point-blank save to keep Simmons within striking distance.
The momentum swung to the visitors as Williamson rattled off four shots, three of which were turned away by MIT sophomore Evie Kyritsis (Mountain Lakes, N.J.), in a four-minute span. The Sharks then earned their first penalty corner of the game but this would prove to be their final charge of the frame as MIT controlled the action down the stretch. With 4:55 remaining before the break, Wharton converted a penalty stroke and shortly thereafter intercepted a pass on the far side of the Engineers' offensive zone, sending it through the arc where Duffy redirected the ball into the goal. The hosts put four more shots on net but Smith stopped each attempt as time expired.
The early stages of the second stanza were a midfield battle as senior Seneca Martensson (East Longmeadow, Mass.) stopped several runs by MIT while the Engineers kept Simmons from recording a shot until the 59th minute. Sophomore Amy Cronin (Georgetown, Mass.) nearly ended the shutout; however, following a save by Kyritsis, the Sharks were awarded a penalty corner. Once action resumed, Martensson's bid was blocked by the MIT defense. The Cardinal and Gray responded by generating six penalty corners and five shots on goal to close out the game.
In her second shutout of the season for the Engineers, Kyritsis tallied four saves.
Smith finished the night with 14 saves while junior Avery Hines (Newburyport, Mass.) and freshman Amy Wilson (Falmouth, Mass.) both produced two defensive saves.
MIT hits the road for the first time this season, as it will travel to UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, Sept. 7 while Simmons concludes its season-opening road swing on the same day at WPI.