Field hockey takes two from Maine

The varsity field hockey team rolled through three more victories this past week to improve to 7-1 on the season. Playing on their home field, the Ephs defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2-0, Colby 2-1 and Bates 1-0.

Playing against RPI last Tuesday, Williams shut the Engineers down. The RPI offense was limited to one shot and one penalty corner. The Ephs, in contrast, were on a roll, firing 18 shots on goal and tallying 19 offensive penalty corners.

Williams scored twice, both goals coming in the first half. Following a shot by Rebecca Parkinson ’00, Alexis Scott ’00 picked up the rebound and put the ball in the goal just four minutes into the game to put the Ephs up right from the start. Fifteen minutes later Scott scored again, this time assisted by Parkinson.

Coach Chris Mason was enthusiastic about the outcome of the game. “We played very well,” she commented. “We had some great defense and great passing.”

Taking to the field again on Friday the Ephs had their most exciting victory of the season to date, defeating a very strong team from Colby 2-1 in overtime. “It was a good game because Colby is a tough team,” Mason commented. “I think we played up to a higher level today.”

Williams came out a bit tentatively in the first half and Colby immediately capitalized on this opportunity, scoring the first goal of the game only four minutes in. By the end of the half Williams had picked up its play but the halftime score would remain 1-0. Colby out-cornered and out-shot Williams in the first half 4-1 and 8-4, respectively.

The second half saw Williams dominate the play much more. Williams had seven penalty corners to Colby’s four and outshot Colby by one. With 27 minutes remaining in the game, the Ephs tied the game off a penalty corner. Co-captain Morgan Heintz ’00 trapped the ball outside the circle and then passed it up to Sarah Commito ’01, who put just the right spin on it to edge it past the goalie and make the score 1-1.

Though play was intense throughout the rest of the half neither team was able to score again, pushing the game into sudden death overtime. Due to tenacious defense, largely by Molly Venter ’02, Williams continually pushed the ball back down toward Colby’s goal. With 6:27 left in the first overtime period, Robin Severud ’00 made a long pass in to Stefanie Noering ’03, who shot it into the goal for the win.

“In an overtime situation like that it’s all about who wants it more,” co-captain Lili Anderson ’00 commented after the game. “We were not about to give in.”

Returning to the field Saturday morning, a tired Williams squad faced Bates to try to make the week 3-0. The Ephs rose to the challenge and came away with a 1-0 victory.

Severud scored the lone goal of the game with 23 minutes left in regulation off an assist from Scott. The goal was the culmination of a series of attacks on the Bates goal including one penalty corner, all clustered around the 25-minute mark in the second half.

Commenting on the game, Coach Chris Mason offered, “The team was exhausted from a hard game against Colby. This was a big running game…I think in part because we were too tired on offense.”

The back and forth nature of the game created many shot opportunities for both teams, with Bates out-shooting Williams 17-13. Goalkeeper Jen Akey ’02 had a lot of big plays for the Ephs, and accumulated 17 saves. Her tenacious efforts to clear the ball away from the goal kept Bates scoreless and lifted Williams to the win.

Reflecting on the game together co-captains Anderson and Heintz commented, “We were really tired from our overtime game yesterday. This wasn’t the easiest game, and it wasn’t the prettiest game, but we dug deep, we hustled and we got the goal we needed.”

The Ephs now move into one of their most challenging weeks of the season. They face Middlebury tomorrow at Middlebury and play Amherst at home on Saturday.

Thinking about what the team needs to do to continue their success through these two games, “We need to rest,” Mason said. “Then we need to be really sharp and focus on handling the ball and passing well.”

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