Worcester, MA --- Freshman forward Megan Forti (Lynn, MA) notched a natural hat trick to lift WPI to an important 4-0 victory over visiting Mount Holyoke in NEWMAC women's soccer action on Tuesday evening.
With the victory, WPI wins its second straight to improve to 5-9-1 overall and 3-4 in the NEWMAC. More importantly they gained a game over Clark, who lost 1-0 to Springfield, in the race for the sixth and final spot in the NEWMAC Tournament. The Engineers lead the Cougars by three points and hold the tiebreaker with just two conference games remaining.
Mount Holyoke is now 1-11-1 on the season and 1-5-1 in NEWMAC play.
Forti netted all three of her goals in a span of less than seven minutes late in the first half. In the 27th minute she took a pass from classmate Natalie McMillan (Acton, MA) to the left of the goal and calmly flicked it over the goalie's head towards the far post.
Forti's next two tallies came 43 seconds apart. In the 34th minute she stole the ball in the left corner, drove in and beat the keeper to the left. She quickly followed that by burying a cross from Kristen Garza (Kingston, MA) to the far post at 35:32.
The freshman now has 10 goals this fall, including four game-winning markers. The hat trick was the first by a WPI player since Garza turned the trick on September 25th, 2008 in a 12-1 home win over Newbury.
Garza closed out the scoring at 86:36 when she was sent through on a breakaway following a nifty feed by Suzanne Najem (Derry, NH)
WPI goalkeeper Maddie Willer (Penfield, NY) recorded five stops en route to posting her second shutout of the season. Mount Holyoke goalie Elaine Harvey (Boston, MA) registered six saves for the Lyons on the night.
WPI held a slight 15-11 advantage in shots while Mount Holyoke took three of the match's five corner kicks. The Lyons had the better of the action in the second half, enjoying a 8-5 edge in shots. Mallory Phaneuf (Manchester, NH) and Margret Hanmer (Longmeadow, MA) paced the MHC offensive attack with three and two shots respectively.
Both teams continue NEWMAC play on Saturday with home matches. WPI entertains Wellesley at 5pm while Mount Holyoke hosts Clark at 1pm.