Women’s soccer still ranked No. 2 in US

The Williams women’s soccer team has gotten off to a fabulous start; five games into the season, the Ephs are still undefeated.

As of the most recent national poll, released on September 18th, Williams is currently ranked second in the nation. Williams is the only NESCAC team ranked in the top 25.

Last season, the team capped off a strong season with a run to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

The team hopes to improve upon that finish this season, eyeing the NCAA title, but with eight seniors departed via graduation, they have their work cut out for them.

Led by coach Lisa Melendy and senior co-captains Cameron Walker and Kathleen O’Boyle, the team has dominated its opponents.

The Ephs have defeated Vassar, Bowdoin and Little Three rival Wesleyan at home, and taken road games from Springfield and Smith. The team has featured a balanced attack, with goals and assists spread all over the roster.

Goalies Abi Jackson ’03 and Melissa Purdy ’02 have played extremely well, allowing only three goals in the first five games. In that time, the Ephs have scored 17 times.

This Saturday, Williams posted an impressive 4-1 win over Wesleyan. Walker had a great game, scoring three goals, and Katie Bolduc ’01 had the other.

Wesleyan struck first early, but midfielder Walker tied the game for Williams off a corner kick by Maggie Lee ’04. Walker also scored on a feed from Katie Worth ’02 late in the first half to put the Ephs ahead for good.

In the second half, Walker had her third goal of the game and Bolduc scored her only goal as well, assisted by Marlene Bonasera ’02 and Stacey Starner ’03, respectively. Williams dominated the game from midway through the first half on. The Ephs controlled the tempo of the game and constantly had the ball down by Wesleyan’s goal for extended periods of time.

They consistently put pressure on the Cardinal defense, attempting 29 shots on goal. Wesleyan managed six shots against the Williams defense, with most of those coming in the first half.

As a result of the pressure and Walker’s amazing afternoon, the outcome was never really in doubt.

Last Wednesday, the Ephs traveled to Smith, shutting out the home team 4-0. Bolduc opened the scoring this time, with an assist by Worth.

Although Williams took a 1-0 lead into the second half, the two teams were pretty evenly matched throughout.

That changed in the second half, as the Ephs broke the tight contest open. The second goal of the game was not scored until well into the second half, when Starner converted a penalty shot.

Lydia Crafts ’04 assisted on a goal by Karen Kelly ’01, and Kathleen Smith ’03 scored the final goal of the game, assisted by Bonasera. Williams was able to preserve the blanking with very strong defensive play in the second half, outshooting Smith 17-12.

The Ephs hit the highway for their next game, a battle today at Western New England College.

Williams makes its next home appearance when the Trinity Bantams come to the Purple Valley on Saturday.

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