The Williams field hockey team went 2-2 in the past two weeks, winning a pair of games two weeks ago against Middlebury and Amherst and losing last week to Skidmore and Tufts. This brings the Ephs to 9-3 on the season, with two games remaining.
Middlebury and Amherst were considered to be some of the biggest games of the season and the Ephs rose to the occasion accordingly, defeating both teams 3-2. These two victories afforded the Ephs their first Division III national ranking of the season as they rose to 14th in last week’s National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III Poll.
After these two exciting victories the losses at Skidmore and against Tufts were disappointing. Skidmore was last ranked seventh in the national poll, while Tufts was unranked.
The Ephwomen took their national ranking to Saratoga Springs to play Skidmore last Wednesday. It turned out to be a rough game for the Ephs as they suffered their second defeat of the season by a score of 8-0.
Mason’s comments after the game were brief. “There’s not a lot to say,” she said. “They smoked us. They were faster than we were, they are used to the surface [turf] and they have a lot of talented players.”
Returning to the Purple Valley for their game against Tufts (8-5) on Saturday, the Ephs were hoping for a more positive outcome. However, playing at home in a cold drizzle, the Williams team fell to 9-3 on the season as they lost a tough game 4-1. Though Williams dominated on offense throughout the game the ball was not rolling in its favor. Instead it kept rolling into the Williams goal whenever the Jumbos got the ball out of their own end of the field. Tufts scored the first goal of the game with 30:55 left in the first half and went up 2-0 six minutes later.
Williams brought it back to within a goal with 12:37 left in the first half as Anderson netted one off an assist from Castonguay. However, Tufts answered right back, driving the ball down the field and into the goal less than 30 seconds later. At halftime the Jumbos were still up 3-1.
Williams came out determined in the second half and pushed the ball to Tufts’ end of the field. The ball remained at this end of the field for nearly the entire half, but Williams could not get it in the goal. Even with 11 offensive penalty corners in the second half, Williams could not generate needed shots and the shots they took weren’t sinking.
With 11:00 left in the game Tufts added one more goal to its total, pushing the score to 4-1 and leaving Williams little hope of tying it up to force an overtime.
Mason was disappointed with the outcome of the game. “It’s too bad because we completely dominated,” she said. “You can’t let them score each time they go to the goal though.”
Two weeks ago, playing at Middlebury October 13th, the Ephs were impressive in a 3-2 defeat of the Panthers. Middlebury was ranked 16th in the Division-III national poll at the time, while Williams was unranked. Williams’ victory, however, caused Middlebury to drop to 6-4.Middlebury scored first on a break with 19:06 remaining in the first half. However, not two minutes later Williams pushed the ball the other way and tied the score off a penalty corner play with 17:44 remaining in the half. Alexis Scott ’00 hit the ball out and Robin Severud ’00 stopped it and passed it up to Sarah Commito ’01 who scored the goal for Williams.
Five minutes later Williams attacked again. Lyssa Castonguay ’01 hit a long pass up into the circle, which Stefanie Noering ’03 picked up. Noering then tipped the ball to Severud, who connected on the goal to put the Ephs up 2-1 with 12:01 remaining in the first half.
In the second half, Williams scored quickly to push the score to 3-1. With 28:49 remaining, Castonguay hit the ball up into the circle. In the ensuing scramble in front of the goal Rebecca Parkinson ’00 managed to pick up the ball and she reverse-sticked it into the net.
Middlebury was not to be defeated easily and rebounded in the last 15 minutes of the game. They scored a second goal with 14:38 remaining. As this was the last goal of the game, however, Williams emerged with a 3-2 victory.
Williams Coach Chris Mason commented, “It was a pretty even game; it went both ways. We had a lot of offense in the first half, but they pounded us on offense in the last 10 to 15 minutes. They’re a dangerous team.”
Williams had an even more exciting 3-2 win playing at home against archrival Amherst (9-2) Saturday October 16th. Again the unranked Williams squad defeated a ranked team, as Amherst was then ranked tenth in Division III.
Williams took control at the beginning of the game and dominated much of the first half. With 19:29 remaining it pulled ahead 1-0 when Castonguay knocked the ball up to Noering who drove it into the goal. Though Williams generated a lot of offense throughout the rest of the first half the score would remain 1-0 at halftime. Amherst came out strong in the second half and scored quickly to tie the game at 1-1 with 30:51 remaining in regulation. With 13:55 remaining on the clock Noering scored again for Williams, lifting them to 2-1. This lead, however, would be short-lived.
With 7:12 left in regulation one of Amherst’s players batted the ball into the goal. On a controversial call, the goal was counted to tie the score again at 2-2 and force the game into overtime.
Playing in the sudden death overtime, Williams and Amherst battled back and forth for nearly the full 15-minute period. As time wound down Williams pushed the ball down to the Amherst goal. With 1:55 left on the clock Scott hit a pass up to Parkinson, who nailed it into the goal to lift Williams to the 3-2 win.
After the game co-captains Lili Anderson ’00 and Morgan Heintz ’00 both expressed relief at having won the game. “It was a ridiculous call on the goal that tied it,” Heintz said. “Fortunately we were able to channel that into positive anger.”
Anderson added, “We deserved the win. Amherst is a very good team, very quick and aggressive, but we matched them and we outplayed them the entire game.”
Williams plays at Springfield College tonight. Springfield was ranked sixth in this week’s poll.