Women’s soccer beats Camels: earns bid for NCAA tourney

“We’ve been trying hard to play the full 90 minutes with intensity and composure. We did that today, and I feel like this is the best game we’ve played all season.”

Coach Lisa Melendy had this to say about the women’s soccer team’s 4-0 win over the Connecticut College Camels. The win moves the Ephs’ record to 12-1-1, gives them the automatic bid to the NCAA’s for the NESCAC and potentially sets them up to host in the tournament.

Saturday’s game was a good example of a team excelling at the most consequential time and playing its best game of the season.

The first 20 minutes of the game proceeded without scoring. The teams exchanged runs and played a very open style. Yet it did not result in a goal for the Ephs until Kate Bolduc ’01 found CC Ciafone ’02 open in the middle. The sophomore midfielder nestled a shot into back left corner of the net for her eighth goal of the season.

The rest of the first half passed without further scoring. The Williams team defense was impenetrable, particularly the backs, who continued to play with poise and control in pitching their tenth shutout of the year. Senior Becky Kummer said of the victory, “we played with both skill and heart. We all realized that the game could make or break our chances for the NCAA tournament, and everybody stepped up to the challenge.”

The second half produced a barrage of scoring, led by a Jill Caterer ’00 goal, her tenth of the year, again off a Bolduc pass, her ninth assist of the season. It continued when Stacy Starner ’03 took a Karen Kelly ’01 pass and shot a bullet into the upper right corner of the net from 20 yards out. The Camels got smoked one more time in the half when Bolduc completed a busy day by putting in a goal of her own off a Caterer free kick.

The players all echoed the sentiments expressed by their coach. Bolduc had this to say after: “We knew going in that we had played hard before, we knew that we had played well before, but we had put it all together yet, and we did that yesterday.” Earlier in the week, the team traveled down the road to play MCLA. The local rivalry produced a hard-fought game that resulted in a 3-0 Williams victory.

Cameron Walker ’01 opened the scoring not five minutes in with a long shot over the MCLA goalkeeper for her third goal of the year. Starner kept producing with two goals in the game, one in the first half, and another in the second off a Bolduc pass.

The freshman has been a key offensive player this season, adding another weapon to an already potent Williams attack and creating problems for defenses that try to focus on any one Eph player.

The team is playing very well right now on both ends. Coach Melendy had this to say about the team’s preparation for the NCAA tournament, “Our main focus before the tournament is to stay healthy. We’re going to rest a little before we find out who we’ll be playing and then probably continue working on different formations and restarts before next weekend.”

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