Field hockey rebounds to capture NESCAC crown after tough start

Rebounding from its early struggles, field hockey clinched a berth in the NCAA tournament with a 3-0 victory over Amherst in the NESCAC championship game on Sunday. Powered by two goals from Tara Boyd ’05, the Ephs (12-4) slammed the Lord Jeffs, winning their eighth in a row. The win was also the team’s seventh shutout this season.

“The team’s intensity and focus was great,” said head coach Alix Rorke. “I’m very proud how we rebounded from the 4-4 start to finish 12-4.”

The team will now head to the NCAA tournament, hosting second and third round games at home on Cole Field this weekend.

Tori Scott ’04 sparked the team on Sunday with an early goal at 28:44 off of a pretty feed from Stef Noering ’03 . Later in the half, Scott found Boyd in front of the net to put the Ephs up 2-0.

The win not yet in hand, first-year standout Boyd put her second past Lord Jeff goalie Beth Sensing off a cross from Rebecca Kiselewich ’04 with 26:33 left on the clock, vaulting the Ephs to a 3-0 lead. Ephs goalie Monelle Quevillon ’03 led the Williams defense to yet another shutout, with the Williams offense out-shooting Amherst 16-2.

To secure a spot in Sunday’s championship game, the Ephs defeated Bowdoin in a semifinal match Saturday. After the Polar Bears tied the score at 1-1 with 46 seconds left on the clock, Williams earned a penalty corner with just seconds remaining on the clock, allowing the Ephs to continue play after time had officially run out. On the second corner, Molly Jennings ’04 found Scott at the top of the circle and Scott ripped the game-winner past the Bowdoin goalie for the 2-1 victory. The win avenged the Ephs’ 2-1 loss to Bowdoin in their first game of the season.

“I was very proud of how our team responded after we gave up a goal with just 46 seconds left,” said Rorke. “We went right down the field and got a corner and then another.”

It must have seemed like déjà vu all over again for Scott, who last year during the ice hockey season, scored a game-winning goal in overtime during the first round of the NESCAC tournament. That game was against the Polar Bears as well. “No goalie was going to stop Tori’s shot,” said Rorke. “She just ripped it off the goalie’s pads and over her head into the goal.”

The dramatic finish was set up when Bowdoin’s Beth Sherman took a pass from Jackie Templeton and beat Quevillon to tie the score with only 46 seconds left in regulation.

After a scoreless first half, Boyd had given Williams a 1-0 lead when she knocked in a goal off a rebound shot from Noering. Rorke also noted that Kiselewich played a strong game on the flank.

For their outstanding play over the weekend, both Kiselewich and Scott earned NESCAC player of the week honors. Additionally, co-captain Molly Venter ’02 is being considered for the honor of NESCAC player of the year for her consistently strong play at defense this season.

The Ephwomen will open up NCAA tournament play against Rowan College on Saturday at 11 a.m. Cortland State will play the winner of Wednesday’s Gordon College vs. Plymouth State match up at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The two winners will play Sunday at noon for a trip to the NCAA semifinals. Admission for all games is $3, with a $1 discount for students.