Women’s lax defeats Tufts, starts season perfect 5-0

The Williams College women’s lacrosse team has started off the season undefeated in play, winning all five games it has played. The streak began with a win over Colorado College during a spring break trip to Florida, followed up by wins over Bowdoin, Bates, Springfield and Tufts. The team’s strong play early in the season has allowed it to ascend to a rank of sixth nationally.

Eph senior Caitlin Ritchie netted six goals to help lead Williams to victory during Saturday’s 11-6 win over Tufts.

Williams got off to a 3-1 lead early in the first half, and increased the lead to 6-3 just before the end of the half. With just over six minutes left in the second half, Williams increased its lead to 11-5. Tufts scored with three minutes left in the game to narrow the final margin to five.

In goal for Williams was first-year Abi Jackson, who made eight saves. The Ephs scored on 11 of the 21 shots they put up.

Earlier in the week, Williams beat Springfield College by a score of 20-3. Senior co-captain Cara Shortsleeve led the way with four goals and three assists.

Williams took a whopping 54 shots in the game, forcing Springfield goaltender Molly Arey to make 21 saves. The Pride had 10 shots on net, forcing Jackson (53 minutes) to make six saves and Joanna Pons ’02 (seven minutes) to make one.

The week before, Williams defeated two Maine schools, Bates and Bowdoin, on consecutive days. The Ephs won over Bates 23-6 and Bowdoin 14-13.

Eph sophomore Heather Black netted three goals in the first half to give the Ephs a 4-0 early in the half. Ritchie padded the Ephs’ lead by one when she scored with 16:56 left in the first half.

Williams went on to score five more goals and hold a 10-4 lead at the half. Williams put the game out of reach by scoring seven unanswered goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half. The Ephs fired 23 shots in the first half and 37 in the game.

Jackson played the first 50 minutes in goal for the Ephs and made seven saves while allowing five goals. Pons made two saves and allowed one goal in the game’s final 10 minutes. Ritchie scored seven goals in the game.

The team’s perfect mark was tested the day before in a match against Bowdoin, where the Polar Bears mounted a late comeback but eventually fell short to the Ephs 14-13. It was an important win for Williams, as Bowdoin was ranked ahead of Williams nationally at the time.

With memories of last year’s 15-6 loss to Bowdoin fresh in their minds, the Ephs darted off to a 3-0 lead after the first four minutes of play. Bates tied the game at four with 20:49 to play, but the Ephs took control of the game from there, getting out to a 9-5 halftime lead.

With 11:47 left in the second, the Ephs were up 14-7. Bowdoin, however, made it tough for the Ephs down the stretch, scoring six goals, including the last one with 13 seconds left in the game, to cut the lead to one. Williams held off the late Bowdoin charge at the end to preserve the important victory.

Jackson made 13 saves on the day while Shortsleeve scored six goals for the Ephs.

The team’s first win came durng the season opener against Colorado College during a spring break trip to Florida. Williams won 11-6 over the Tigers, who were playing their seventh game of the season as opposed to the Ephs’ first.

The Ephs scored first when first-year midfielder Kathryn Doherty converted a pass from Ritchie. The Ephs also got two first half goals from senior co-captain Robin Severud and one from Shortsleeve to build a 4-2 lead at the break.

In the second half, the Ephs outscored the Tigers by a margin of 7-4. Shortsleeve netted two unassisted goals, Doherty got two while senior co-captain Meghan Cleary, Black, Ritchie and first-year Jennifer Ashkenazi each scored one.