CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In the first meeting between both programs since 1996, the MIT women's lacrosse team emerged with a 13-9 victory over New England College on Saturday. Erica Little led the Engineers (4-2) with four goals and three assists as Katie Palasz paced the Pilgrims (3-4) with five points (four goals, one assist).
The Cardinal and Gray got on the board when Little set up Laura Wacker after 1:02 elapsed, which was followed by Little's own unassisted goal. Back-to-back strikes by Palasz and a goal from Rebecca Harvey put NEC in front, 3-2, at the 20:02 mark. MIT responded with six unanswered goals to take the lead for good. Stephanie Leger's solo effort sparked the run as Katie Kauffman and Little tacked on free-position shots. The Engineers capitalized on a pair of overlapping yellow cards assessed to the Pilgrims by registering two man-up goals. Little picked up her second assist of the day on a Kauffman marker before she completed the hat-trick at 11:57. Leger capped the run on a free-position goal just over three minutes later as Harvey ended the Pilgrims' scoring drought with 3:28 left in the half. A free-position shot from Kauffman gave the Engineers a 9-4 advantage at the break.
MIT quickly extended its margin when Little found Leger for a man-down marker early in the second stanza. NEC continued to attack, using three consecutive goals to cut its deficit in half (10-7) midway through the frame. Palasz lit the lamp before setting up Amanda Naime while Amanda Kennedy converted a feed from Bickford. A free-position shot by Kelly Duncan increased the Engineers' cushion to 11-7 at 12:13. The Pilgrims maintained their momentum as they narrowed the gap to two (11-9) courtesy of unassisted goals from Palasz and Harvey with just over six minutes left to play. Little's free-position shot with 5:04 gave the hosts some breathing room while Wacker's tally secured the win.
In addition to her hat-trick, Leger collected eight of MIT's 13 draw controls. Wacker added three groundballs and two caused turnovers as Alex Wright posted four groundballs and two caused turnovers. In net, Allison Hamilos collected eight saves and six groundballs.
Palasz added three groundballs, two draw controls, and two caused turnovers to her team-high scoring performance. Naime registered four groundballs, two draw controls, and two caused turnovers while Meredith Merce and Danielle O'Leary bolstered the Pilgrims' defense with three groundballs and two caused turnovers apiece. Goalie Alexandra DiRico compiled eight saves and four groundballs.
Both squads continue non-conference play on Monday, April 5. MIT will travel to Bridgewater State College while NEC will host Keene State College.