With road games against Middlebury and Amherst, this week was marked as the toughest of the season for the Williams College women’s lacrosse team.
The week’s results were mixed for the team, as Middlebury handed it its first loss of the season on Wednesday but were able to come back with a big win over Amherst on Saturday. The team’s record now stands at 10-1, 5-1 NESCAC.
On Saturday, the Williams College women’s lacrosse team ended Amherst’s perfect season with a 12-9 win.
Amherst was ranked second in the nation in the most recent polls, while Williams was ranked fourth.
The game was tightly contested throughout. Williams led Amherst 4-3, but scored eight goals in the second to Amherst’s six to pace itself to the three-goal victory.
Sophomore Heather Black led the way with three goals and an assist with senior tri-captain Cara Shortsleeve getting three goals as well. Kathryn Doherty ’03 and Kristen Sullivan ’01 netted two goals apiece.
Senior tri-captain Meghan Cleary and Caitlin Ritchie ’00 also scored goals in the game. Seniors Robin Severud (2), Kristen Grippi and Sam Daigenault all got assists in the game. In goal, first-year Abigail Jackson saved 11 shots.
“We played with great intensity,” said Williams’ head coach Chris Mason in response to the game. “Defensively we gave them very little compared to what they’re used to getting. We did an excellent job of getting the check and double-teaming, and the majority of Amherst’s goals were from free positions.”
She credited offensive poise, saying “We also played very well offensively, earning some fast break goals and some patient offense goals.”
Black credits the team’s victory to the way it practiced. “The two practices preceding the Amherst were intense and competitive, very different from the two before the Middlebury game. That made all the difference in the way we came out against Amherst versus Middlebury.”
On Wednesday, Middlebury, ranked third nationally, handed the Ephs their first loss of the season. Middlebury got out to an 8-4 lead at the half and wound up winning 14-8 over the Ephs.
Tri-captain Severud was Williams’ high scorer in defeat, netting three goals and two assists. Sarah Commito ’01, Doherty, Ritchie, Shortsleeve and Cleary all scored a goal apiece with Daigenault, Ritchie and Shortsleeve getting assists. Jackson tallied 13 saves in goal.
“Middlebury was marking us very tight and forcing us to make a lot of turnovers,” Mason said following the game, “we weren’t doing a lot of things that we’ve been working on in practice all week, and Middlebury capitalized on our mistakes.”
Despite the loss to Middlebury, the Ephs are well positioned to obtain one of the two New England region NCAA berths.
Prior to this week’s matches, Middlebury and Amherst were the only two teams in the region ranked ahead of Williams.
By defeating the Lord Jeffs (who handed Middlebury its only loss of the season), Williams put itself within reach of obtaining one of the two berths, provided they can win at Connecticut College on Friday in their last regular season game.
In Black’s words, “We have a great team, with heart, skill and desire and every one of us has worked hard especially the past few days to achieve great success, as in beating the #2 ranked team in the nation.”