Heading into the season, the goaltending position was the biggest question mark facing the field hockey team. But after two games, it may be their biggest strength.
Wendy Stone ’05 made seven saves in only her second career start as the Ephs easily handled Connecticut College on Saturday, 4-1. The Ephs are now 2-0, and 1-0 in NESCAC play.
“Wendy played absolutely phenomenal,” Head Coach Alix Rorke said.
“I’d never played the position before,” Stone said. “But they asked me if I could give it a try and I said yes. It’s been a learning experience so far but it’s getting better every day.
“Everyone on the team has been great all along, they’ve all been very supportive as I make the transition. I’ve got some great players in front of me too and that’s made my job easier.”
With Stone looking like a brick wall in front of the net, the Ephs rebounded from a somewhat sluggish first half to dominate the game in the second. Captain Stef Noering ’03 was the catalyst, scoring twice in a 7-minute span and adding an assist as well.
“I was fortunate to be set up by some nice passes form my teammates,” Noering said afterwards. “I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”
Early in the second, with the Ephs up 1-0, Noering made a pretty feed to Tori Scott ’04 near the net, who blasted her second goal of the game past the Camels’ goalie for a 2-0 lead.
With a 2-goal lead, Noering put the game away midway through the half. First, Molly Jennings ’04 found Noering for a goal at the 18:26 mark. Less than seven minutes later, the senior from Cohasset, Mass. deflected in a shot by Scott for her second goal of the game.
“We started off slow, but picked it up at the end of the first half,” Rorke said. “Coming out of halftime I was really pleased with our passing and defensive execution.”
The Camels avoided the shutout with seven minutes left in the game on a goal by Christine Connolly. It was the only blemish of the day for Stone, who has stepped in nicely after injuries to Williams’ two other goalies, Monelle Quevilon ’03 and Jennifer Steinberg ’05.
“Wendy stopped many key shots that could have let them back in the game,” Rorke said. “She really was the difference in the match.”
Scott opened the scoring in the first half off a corner from Jennings, ripping a blistering shot that left a vapor trail in its wake. Scott and Noering now lead the Ephs in scoring with three goals apiece.
The Ephs dominated the offensive zone, particularly in the second half. In the second, Williams had five penalty corners to only one for the Camels. The Ephs had nine total for the game, while Connecticut had five.
“We played real well,” captain Moonjoo Han ’03 said. “They were a fast team but we were better today.”
Up next for the Ephs is Bowdoin on Saturday afternoon. The Polar Bears defeated the Ephs last year during the regular season before Williams avenged that defeat with a 2-1 in the NESCAC semifinals.
“I am happy with this win,” Rorke said. “However, we are going to need to play much better next Saturday against a strong Bowdoin team.”
“These league games matter the most, especially come tourney time,” Han said. “It’s a great game for us to have as our home opener.”