Field hockey drops heartbreaker to Tufts in double overtime

After 96 minutes of intense play in Medford, the Williams Field Hockey team suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 double overtime loss to the Tufts Jumbos on Saturday. The defeat dropped Williams’ record to 12-2 overall, 7-2 in NESCAC play, with the upcoming NESCAC tournament just over the horizon. The third-seeded Ephs will open at home on Tuesday against sixth-seeded Connecticut College.

Following an impressive win over eleventh ranked Springfield College and a 3-1 victory over Connecticut this past week, the Ephs were ranked ninth nationally and hoped to bring a winning streak into the conference tournament. However, the Jumbos’ Lindsey Lionetti ended the Williams regular season on a sour note, slapping the game-winner into the back of the net with 3:39 to play in the second overtime.

Senior co-captain Allison Stepp put the Ephs on the scoreboard early in the second half with her sixth goal of the season, with an assist from Molly Jennings ’04. It was Jennings’ team-high seventh assist of the year. Tufts’ Amy Polverini countered with 15:40 to play in regulation, evening the score at one. From then on, Eph goalie Monelle Quevillon ’03 and her Tufts counterpart, Dena Sloan, shut down the offensive attacks until the deciding score in the second overtime. Quevillon recorded ten saves, including five in the second overtime, while Sloan finished with 16 stops.

“We played pretty well and we had some opportunities, but we just couldn’t get the ball into the net,” explained Quevillon. “Tufts really needed this game to get a good seed in the NESCAC tournament, and they played well.”

Bowdoin, which fell 2-0 to the Ephs on Sept. 16 in their only loss this year, is the tournament’s top seed, followed by second-seeded Amherst. A win on Tuesday will advance the Ephwomen to the tournament finals on Saturday and Sunday at Bowdoin. The two semifinal games will take place on Saturday, with the winners advancing to the final game on Sunday. The tournament champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships.

“We feel we have a good chance in the tournament,” stated Quevillon. “We lost two close games in overtime (versus Tufts and Amherst) that we know we could have won, so we know we can play with anybody in our conference. We’re really pumped up and ready to give it everything we have.”

Last Thursday, Williams defeated Springfield 1-0 in a match up of two of the nation’s top teams. Tori Scott ’04 tallied the game’s only score with 15:49 left in the first half, and the Eph defense stifled the aggressive Springfield attack the rest of the way. Quevillon had four saves en route to recording her eight shutout of the season.

On Oct. 17, the Ephs outscored Connecticut College 3-1 in NESCAC conference play. Senior co-captain Sarah Commito started the scoring with 14:17 to play in the first half, banging home a pass from Heather Kallus ’03. Less than five minutes later, Stephanie Noering ’03 beat the Camel goalie for her team-high ninth goal of the year, putting Williams up 2-0. After the half, Connecticut came on strong and scored with 22:04 remaining to cut the lead in half. Williams responded to the challenge, stepping up on both ends of the field. Kallus sealed the victory with less than two minutes two play, scoring off of an assist from Jennings. Quevillon stopped 11 of 12 Camel shots, preserving the victory.

Against Amherst on Oct. 14, Williams fell 1-0 in overtime, snapping their season-long winning streak at ten games. Tough defense, combined with missed opportunities for both teams, sent the game scoreless into overtime. However, the Lord Jeffs’ attackers soon found a hole in the Williams line, creating a two-on-one opportunity, and Amherst’s Abby Ouimet ripped a shot into the net for the winning score.