Norton, MA --- Lauren Meinhold's (Boxboro, MA) first game-winner of the season was a big one, as the sophomore sent the WPI field hockey team to the NEWMAC Semifinals with the golden goal in a 1-0 overtime win on the road at Wheaton.
The fifth-seeded Engineers (11-6) move on to play at number-one seed Babson on Thursday at 6pm, while fourth-seeded Wheaton's 2021 campaign comes to an end at 8-10 after qualifying for the NEWMAC Tournament for the first time since 2021.
Four minutes into overtime, Meinhold collected a rebound and fired it past the Wheaton keeper, finally capping a dominant performance in the game for the Engineers. WPI out-shot Wheaton 19-1 in the contest, racking up 19 penalty corners, but needed 64 minutes of action to cement the victory.
WPI mustered the only offense of the first quarter, controlling the midfield through the first 15 minutes. The Engineers fired five shots while holding Wheaton without an attempt, but the only WPI shot on goal, a strike from Natalie Mohn (Huntington, VT) was saved by the Lyons' Emma Lapreziosa (Bowdoinham, ME).
The Crimson and Gray kept the pressure on the Wheaton defense through the second frame, but still the game remained scoreless. A 24th-minute shot from Eliza Dutson (Woodstock, CT) forced another Lyon save, but despite 4-0 advantages in both shots and penalty corners, the game was 0-0 at the break.
The teams traded shots on goal to open the third quarter, but both keepers made saves to preserve the tie. WPI's Rachel Drasser (Lunenburg, MA) had a hard knock stopped just 16 seconds into play, while Wheaton answered with its first shot of the game a few minutes later. Lydia Gaudreau's (Gorham, ME), attempt was stopped by Nini Acquista (Longmeadow, MA) and neither team managed much offense over the rest of the frame.
WPI controlled the fourth quarter with a 3-0 shot edge, while also racking up four penalty corners in a three minute span. Wheaton's Lapreziosa kept the scoreless tie intact, saving a pair of shots from Meinhold in the quarter, sending the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, WPI kept the game in the Wheaton half of the field for all four minutes. After a penalty corner came up fruitless for the Engineers, a flurry of activity in front of the cage led to the score. Shots from Dishing and Samantha Robison (Wrentham, MA) were blocked by the Lyons, before Meinhold corralled the final rebounded shot and sent it home for the game-winner.
Acquista needed just one save to earn the win in goal, as the WPI defense was stalwart. Wheaton's Lepreziosa collected six saves in the loss.