CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Four unanswered goals during a seven-minute span in the first half helped propel the MIT women's lacrosse team to a 9-3 victory over Smith College in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both squads on Saturday. Erica Little paced the Engineers (5-2) with four points on three goals and an assist while Becky Bracken led the Pioneers (2-4) with two goals.
Bracken put the visitors on the board almost three minutes into the contest when she redirected a feed from Meaghan Fileti. Following 10 minutes of scoreless play, Little found Kaitlyn Nealon for the equalizer. A pair of Katie Kauffman free-position shots bookended an unassisted marker by Little as MIT captured a lead it would not relinquish. A solo effort by Sofia Nakhnikian-Weintraub with 3:17 on the clock trimmed Smith's deficit to 4-2 and capped the first-half scoring.
The defensive battle continued in the second stanza as the score remain unchanged until the 16:42 mark when the Engineers rattled off three straight goals. Laura Wacker kicked off the three-minute spurt and was followed by Molly McShane and Little. The Pioneers' lone goal of the half came with 8:55 left courtesy of a Bracken free-position shot. Little completed the hat-trick three minutes later as Kelly Duncan buried the game's final goal with 23 seconds remaining.
Lauren Rodda paced MIT's defense with six groundballs and three caused turnovers while McShane scooped up five groundballs. Alex Wright totaled four groundballs as Meghan Wright contributed three groundballs and two caused turnovers. In net, Sarah Ritter amassed 13 saves.
In addition to leading Smith's attack, Bracken posted a game-high 10 groundballs to go along with three caused turnovers and two draw controls. MK Pasini notched seven groundballs and three draw controls while Eve Whitehouse and Nakhnikian-Weintraub added three and two caused turnovers, respectively. Meredith Kallfelz collected 13 saves and five groundballs in the loss.
Next up for MIT will be a road game at NEWMAC foe Mount Holyoke College on Saturday, April 2. Smith returns to action on Tuesday, March 29 in a non-conference tilt at Westfield State University.