Women’s soccer regroups with 3-1 victory over Trinity

After two consecutive 1-0 losses, women’s soccer (4-2; 2-1 NESCAC) rebounded with an impressive 3-1 victory over the Trinity Bantams on Saturday. The Ephs had previously dropped contests against two nationally ranked opponents, sixth ranked Wheaton College on Sept. 24 and number-19 Bowdoin a week earlier.

“I think we’ve been playing pretty well lately, but the obvious difference in the Trinity game was that we were able to finish,” Head Coach Michelyne Pinard said. “We’ve had similar opportunities in the previous two games, but we were finally able to get the job done.”

Eph striker Stacey Starner ’03 provided the biggest news of the week, breaking the all-time Williams women’s soccer record for points in career with two assists against Trinity. Starner now has 90 career points, surpassing the previous record of 89 held by Mindy Thompson ’98. Starner remains two scores shy of the Williams career goal-scoring record of 38, currently held by Christine Boddicker ’88.

Against the Bantams (3-1-1; 1-1-1), Kate Harkey ’06 ended the Williams scoring drought in the 17th minute with a line drive into the upper left-hand corner of the net from 35 yards out. Sarah Krygowski ’05 followed at 40:55, rebounding a Starner shot from the left side and sneaking the ball past sprawling Trinity goalkeeper Brenna Shields.

Trinity responded with two minutes elapsed in the second half, cutting the lead to one on a score by Lindsay Aquilina. Aquilina chased a lob out in front of the Williams net, then booted a one-time floater over the head of Eph goalkeeper Lindsay Starner ’05.

Claire Samuel ’04 gave the Ephs some much-needed breathing room in the 70th minute, tucking the ball into the back of the net after a Starner feed from the right side of the penalty box.

Williams had several opportunities to add to the score, amassing 33 total shots on the day. Lindsay Starner finished with seven saves for the Ephs, while Shields stopped 11 shots for Trinity.

On Sept. 24, the Ephs traveled to Szot Park in Chicopee, Mass., to take on Wheaton (8-1) in a non-conference battle. Wheaton co-captain Christy McHugh tallied the game-winner at 12:36 as the Lyons prevailed 1-0.

“Wheaton is one of the better teams we’re going to see all year, and I thought we gave them a good run,” Pinard said. “It was especially exciting in the last five or six minutes, when we kept knocking on the door. If we had just been able to finish, we would have been alright.”

McHugh, after a feed from fellow co-captain Tracy Pihoda, put the Lyons on the board early with a blast past Lindsay Starner. The score was McHugh’s fourth on the season, while Pihoda raised her team-leading point total to 20.

The two sides battled to a draw throughout the rest of the contest, although it looked as if Williams was finally going to break through at the end of the second half. The Ephs mounted a furious rally, but Broomhead, with four saves in the last six minutes, was up to the challenge.

Starner and Samuel each had golden opportunities in the closing minutes, but both were denied by the narrowest of margins. With less than five minutes to play, Starner’s blast from the top of the penalty was beautifully turned away by a diving Broomhead. Samuel’s potential equalizer moments later sailed just wide of the net.

The loss was the second consecutive 1-0 defeat for the Ephs after 16 consecutive regular season victories. Wheaton, currently the top-ranked team in New England, has now won five straight after a Sept. 28 victory over Mount Holyoke.

Williams is now tied for third place in the NESCAC with a 2-1 conference record.

Bowdoin and Middlebury, each 2-0-1 in NESCAC play, hold a slim lead over Williams and Tufts atop the standings.

“We have been battling through a lot lately,” Pinard said. “There is still a lot of work to do, but we just have to keep getting better and we’ll be fine.”

With two goals and four assists, Starner leads all Ephs in scoring with eight total points, followed closely by Samuel (three goals, one assist, seven total points) and Harkey (three goals, six points).

The Ephs will next take on Western New England College in Springfield, Mass., in a non-conference match up on Oct. 1. Williams then resumes NESCAC play on Oct. 5 in a road contest against Bates (3-3; 2-2).