Women’s lax crushes Bantams 17-8

Women’s lacrosse (6-1, 4-1 in the NESCAC), fueled by their convincing 19-2 win over Smith on Thursday, cinched another victory this weekend over NESCAC opponent Trinity, 17-8. The Ephs now boast a 6-1 record overall and are 4-1 in NESCAC, having only lost to Bates in their second game of the season.

“We came out hard and played with intensity,” said Chris Mason, head coach of women’s lacrosse, of Thursday’s game at Smith. “We took control of the game early.”

All told, 11 different players scored, with five of them – Moonjoo Han ’03, Kate Pettrone ’03, Maura Commito ’04, Stephanie Downs ’05 and Crista Petrelli ’05 – scoring for the first time this season.

With three goals apiece were Stef Noering ’03, Leanne McManama ’03 and Molly Jennings ’04. Scoring twice was Tara Boyd ’05, while Kathryn Doherty ’03 and Tori Scott ’02 each had one goal.

Co-captain Heather Black ’02, who did not play in Thursday’s game due to illness, noted the prominent role Doherty has been playing on the team this season. “Kathryn is integral to both our defense and offense,” Black said. “She is our top scorer, but she’s also a great passer. Defensively, she gets the job done by getting the check [and] picking up the ground balls and has a great eye for the interception. She sees the field really well.”

The Williams defense only allowed Smith six shots on goal, and Ann Woods ’05, manning the goal for the third straight game, saved four of those.

Saturday’s game saw a tougher opponent in Trinity College, though Williams, for the most part, set the pace of the game. Black opened the scoring within the first five minutes, but afterward it looked like the Ephs might have a struggle in store. Trinity jumped out to a 2-1 lead, and despite a goal from Jennings, they retained the lead at 3-2, then 4-2.

“We got off to a slow start,” said Black. “But when we get going, I believe we can beat any team, no matter who they are.”

With that attitude in mind, it wasn’t long before the Ephs pulled out their signature move of the season – a string of unanswered goals. Noering, fed a pass from Black, started off a run of eight unanswered goals by scoring at the 13:24 mark, and the Ephs never looked back, closing out the half 10-4. In the streak of goals, Doherty scored three times, Jennings and Noering each scored twice and Kate Leonard ’03 added one as well.

The rest of the game looked much like the first statistically, with the Ephs scoring seven more and allowing the Bantams only four. But Mason and other players saw room for improvement in their second-half performance.

“There was a spell where we turned the ball over too much,” said Mason, referring to the three Tufts goals in a row without an Ephs offensive response. Black agreed: “sometimes, when we go on a scoring spurt, it seems like we become confident with our play – and that tends to hurt us.”

In the end, though, a few Tufts goals were not enough to break the commanding Eph lead. Williams scored five more times in as many minutes, with Black responsible for three of those. Amy Wicker ’05 and Jen Ashkenazi ’03 added the other two, with Ashkenazi assisting one of Black’s goals as well.

Credit for the scoring sprees is also due to defensive players, who prevented successful Trinity offensive moves for much of the game. “I’d say our defense has been getting better and better with each game,” said co-captain Molly Venter ’02. “We’ve been improving our communication so that we can be more aggressive with our double teams.”

One strategy that both the offense and the defense used was forcing Trinity to run the ball instead of allowing them to pass it down the field.

“Trinity is a very fast team,” said Mason, “but our defense did a very good job denying them the opportunity to attack quickly.”

On offense, players looked to intercept passes and create turnovers, and more than a few time they managed to snatch up ground balls. Abi Jackson ’03, returning to the goal after an injury, did her part, stopping 58 percent of the shots on goal.

All in all, seven players scored, with four players scoring three or more goals each. Mason was impressed with the play of Jennings, one of the two players to score four goals in the game. “Molly had some great shots,” Mason said, adding that Black, the other player to score four times, “came up big at the end.”

Mason also gave kudos to Kathryn Doherty ’03 – last week’s NESCAC Player of the Week – who, along with two assists, netted three goals, matching the scoring of Stef Noering ’03. Black added that Ashkenazi was also a force to be reckoned with. “Jen was ruthless on our press, and her passing is just spectacular. She’s always rounding out an offensive play with a great pass inside.”

This week, the team will take on NESCAC opponent Connecticut College – and in doing so, will bring about the first-ever game between two sisters – the Ephs’ Tara Boyd ’05 and the Camels’ Caley Boyd. Caley, who was at Saturday’s game to both watch her sister and help her celebrate her 19th birthday, might have gotten an eyeful of team strategy, too. But Black is optimistic about the rest of the season.

“It’s less about who we play and more about focusing on our talent and skill,” she said. “We have a young team and we’re learning how to play with each other.”

The team will take on Wesleyan in their last regular-season home game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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