Williams Women’s soccer was knocked out of the NESCAC Tournament following a 1-0 loss to Middlebury. The team, which started the season strong winning their first seven games before losing five of their next seven, will now hope to refind the excellent play in the ECAC-New England Tournament.
Despite the end of season slump, the team still managed to qualify for the NESCAC postseason tournament as the sixth seed. In their first round game, the team defeated archrival Amherst, avenging their tough loss at Amherst on October 14.
The Ephs rode into their semifinal match against #1 Middlebury coming off their satisfying win. Unfortunately, Middlebury prevailed in a closely matched, hard fought, double overtime game, knocking Williams out of the tournament.
Earlier in the season, Williams had lost to Middlebury 1-0. The team had hoped to reverse the outcome in the playoff game and prepared very intensely for the game. The teams were obviously very close in ability as the momentum of the game swung back and forth through the first one hundred and eleven minutes of the game.
In the first half Williams controlled the tempo of the game and had several scoring chances. The team returned from halftime confident that they would be able to pull out the victory.
The game, however, changed in the second half as Middlebury came out firing. They out-shot Williams eight to two and maintained favorable field position throughout the half. The Eph’s defense and goalie, however, kept the game remained scoreless at the end of regulation.
The first overtime period was even more tightly contested and intense than the first ninety minutes as both teams grinded it out, refusing to concede anything. The game went to a second overtime period with both teams spent physically and mentally, but still desperate to win and continue their seasons. After 111:38 minutes of hard-fought action, Middlebury finally managed to score the first and only goal of the game off of a Williams turnover.
With that one goal, the game ended. Despite the heartbreaking loss, the Ephs played an extremely good game against a very good team and have a lot to look forward to next season.
Just four days earlier, the team’s emotions were the polar opposite after their thrilling 1-0 win over Little Three rival Amherst. The game was also tightly contested and the outcome was not decided until there were less than four minutes left in regulation. Both defenses played extraordinarily well throughout the entire game. The team was coming off a disappointing three game losing streak but rebounded nicely from the start of the game.
The only goal of the game was scored at 86:04 by the Ephs leading scorer, Stacey Starner ’03 off of an assist by Kathleen Smith ’03.
Amherst did not surrender easily. They had several chances in the last couple of minutes, but Williams managed to hold on and upset the #4 seeded Amherst, moving Williams to the next round and gaining revenge for their disappointing regular season loss. Williams had high hopes entering the semifinal game that unfortunately ended in disappointment.