Women’s lax downs Conn. College, Wesleyan, preps for Amherst game

In the last week of women’s lacrosse action, the Ephs (8-1, 6-1 in the NESCAC) continued their winning streak, extending their record to 8-1 after victories against Connecticut College on Thursday and Wesleyan on Saturday. The Ephs will need the momentum for this week’s games against undefeated Middlebury on Wednesday and 9-1 Amherst on Saturday.

In Saturday’s game against Wesleyan – the Ephs’ last home game of the regular season – the women crushed the competition by a score of 18-5. “We worked really well as a team,” said Chris Mason, head coach of women’s lacrosse.

“We completely dominated both ends of the field,” agreed co-captain Heather Black ’02. “Our passing through the midfield was the best it’s been all season, our team defense seemed to click and offensively we are seeing each other, with almost all of our goals coming off assists.”

Wesleyan was outmatched from the beginning, though the Cardinals did score the first goal. Williams ended the half up by eight goals with the score notched at 9-1. Black led the team in scoring, netting an outstanding six goals and helping out with three assists. She had four of her goals by the end of the first half.

Adding to the first-half score was Kate Leonard ’03, with two goals, while Kathryn Doherty ’03, Molly Jennings ’04 and Tara Boyd ’05 each had one goal.

Even with the Ephs’ scoring dominance, Wesleyan was not an easy team to beat. “Wesleyan was quick, aggressive, and handled the ball well,” said Mason. “We had to work hard to cause turnovers – they were good at keeping possession even under pressure.”

“This type of win was crucial for our upcoming week when we will be facing the two toughest teams on our schedule,” Black said.

In the second half, Doherty and Black contributed two more goals, while Stef Noering ’03, Leonard and Jennings added one more each. Crista Petrelli ’05 and Anna Gonzales ’05 both scored goals near the end of the game, with Leanne McManama ’03 serving up the feeder for Petrelli’s goal. Jen Ashkenazi ’03 helped out with two assists, one in each half.

“Defense did a good job and kept the score low and our subs did a great job filling in,” said Mason. “Offense, of course, did a strong job, both with Heather’s scoring and Kathryn’s success at creating turnovers.”

Abi Jackson ’03 let in two goals and kept out five – an impressive 71 percent save rate. Woods entered the game halfway through the second half and saved one more shot.

“Abi was phenomenal in goal,” said Black. “She had some great saves, and as always, her clears were direct and she was able to throw the ball so far.” According to Black, Jackson’s prowess in the goal will only become more important to the team. “Her playing so well will make a big difference in the next few games, when we will be facing some of the best shooters in the league,” said Black.

In Thursday’s game at Conn. College, the Ephs killed the Camels by a score of 20-3. At the beginning of the first half, the score was much closer, with Williams scoring four to the Camels’ two. It wasn’t long, however, before the women began a prolific scoring run, adding nine unanswered goals to their tally before the half ended.

During the second half, the Ephs tacked on seven more, allowing the Camels only one more goal. The juniors carried the team, with high scorer Ashkenazi contributing four goals – all within the first half – while midfielders Noering and Leonard added three goals each. Gonzales had two goals.

The team’s usual high scorers chose to pass the ball off in the game. Midfielder Black scored one goal and helped out with four assists, attack Jennings added a goal and two assists and Doherty, the team’s highest scorer, had two goals and one assist.

Attack Tori Scott ’04 had one goal and one assist and Amy Wicker ’05, Crista Petrelli ’05 and Stephanie Downs ’05 each had one goal apiece. Boyd contributed one assist to the board. Abi Jackson ’03 and Ann Woods ’05 both saw time in the goal, with Jackson saving four of the seven shots on goal.

As for the week ahead of them, the members of the women’s lacrosse team have been preparing for this week of play all season. “I guess in a way – although we do take each game as it comes – we have had this week in the back of our minds since the beginning of the season,” said Black.

But Black and co-captain Molly Venter ’02 are not leading the team with an iron fist; instead, they are trying to keep perspective. “I think it’s important that we have fun this week,” said Black. “We are so lucky we get to play the best lacrosse teams in Div. III – and more than that, we are capable of beating them. It’s an awesome feeling, one many people don’t have the opportunity to experience.”

“We as a team feel confident and ready to come out 2-0 at the end of this week,” Black said. “We are ready and fired up to play the best lacrosse we have played all season. Each game, we have been raising the bar – and now it’s time to raise it that last notch.”

Both games are away this week, but the results will be available immediately through Williams’ Sports Information website. Wednesday’s game will begin at 4:15, while Saturday’s game against Amherst – a team that has only lost to Middlebury – will begin at 11:30.

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