It is not how far you fall, it is how high you bounce back.
This adage seemed applicable to the predicament the women’s soccer team found itself in on Saturday. After a toughly contested tie with Amherst the Saturday before, and a disappointing loss to Middlebury last Tuesday, the team righted the ship with a 2-1 victory over Tufts that moved its record to 10-1-1 for the year.
The first half passed by with no scores for Williams, despite a number of quality chances. The defense, motivated by the strong play of Rebecca Brooks ’00 in goal, kept the game scoreless until midway through the second half when a flurry of goals broke the tie.
Stacy Starner ’03 scored the first goal, dribbling through the box and sniping a shot by the befuddled Tufts goaltender. Barely one minute later, the Tufts goalie mishandled a hard shot by Starner, and Jill Caterer ’00 made sure it found its way into the goal on the rebound.
The offensive explosion was answered five minutes later by the Jumbos on a shot that appeared to graze a downed Katie O’Boyle ’01 on its way to the goal. Goalie Brooks got one hand on the deflected shot, but a Tufts player was still able to put it in. The Ephs held off a determined Tufts squad for the rest of the game and came out the victors.
Members of the team stressed the win’s importance. Brooks said, “the win sent a message to the rest of the league that we are not going to unravel, and we know that the biggest part of our season is in front of us.
We’re looking forward to it.” This attitude seems prevalent on the team, and several team members noted that the freshman class as a whole has been playing well lately and consistently contributing to the wins.
The games before Saturday’s turnaround did not turn out quite as the team would have wished. The 2-1 loss to Middlebury on the road, the team’s first defeat of the season, was the biggest disappointment. The team played well for periods, but did not put together a whole game of strong play, and Middlebury capitalized when it counted. CC Ciafone ’02 scored off a Cameron Walker ’01 pass for the Ephs’ lone goal of the match.
The Amherst game on October 16 came to an unsatisfactory conclusion as well for Williams, ending in a scoreless tie. It was clear that Williams outplayed its opponent, but failed to connect on the few scoring chances that a surprisingly stifling Amherst defense allowed. However, every offensive movement was closely contested on both sides, and the teams each struggled to gain the advantage that ultimately never came.
Williams played Union, a traditionally tough opponent, on October 12, and came away with a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory. Ciafone scored the winning goal in overtime off a beautiful feed from Kate Bolduc ’01. Union was a worthy regional opponent, and this win was an accomplishment not to be downplayed.
Jill Caterer ’00 and Ciafone scored the other goals in this physical contest. The strong play of the defense was especially apparent throughout this match, marked by terrific defense on the ball, and successful clears of repeated Union offensive attacks.
The midfielders’ efficient decision-making was another aspect that gave the Ephs’ an edge. Evidence for this is the fact that Williams was actually outshot in this game, a statistic that it had controlled up to this point in the season, yet it converted when the situation was the most dire to steal a victory.
The next two games are of extraordinary importance for the team. They are the last two of the regular season for one, and are crucial for Williams to solidify an NCAA berth. The week starts this afternoon at 2:30 at MCLA, and continues with Connecticut College at home on Saturday.