Field hockey downs Clark 1-0 to open season

Even though classes have only just started and most students probably refuse to believe that the school year has actually begun, the fall sports teams have already been in full swing for the last few weeks now, and field hockey is off to an especially strong start. After sacrificing most of their free time and energy to preseason double sessions, the Ephwomen’s hard work paid off this past Saturday in a 1-0 victory against Clark University.

Anyone who made the trek down to the Cole Field this weekend can attest to the women’s domination. Tara Boyd ’05, who was playing with a broken finger, scored the winning goal within the first 10 minutes. The assist came from Captain Tori Scott ’04, who weaved a skillful pass through a group of Clark defenders and right to Boyd for the game winner.

The rest of the first half was a battle and the ball remained to set up midfield for the majority of the game; however, the women kept the ball in Clark’s defense for most of the second half, making it a fairly uneventful day for Williams goalie Wendy Stone ’05.

It wasn’t until nearly the end of the game that Clark stepped up its offensive energy and Stone received a few more shots, but even then the stingy Eph goaltender refused to let anything by her. Clark ended the game with four saves against four shots on the net.

Head Coach Alix Rorke was not completely satisfied with the Ephwomen’s performance – particularly their excessive complacency at times. “I felt like we got too comfortable after the goal,” Rorke said. “Clark is a tough team and they are always a strong competitor.”

But despite the lack of full intensity throughout the entire game, Rorke was pleased with her team’s showing. “We really used our speed up the sides well today. I think we have great chemistry this season and our new players will certainly add to the mix,” Rorke said.

From the team’s performance this past weekend, it looks like field hockey is geared up to continue the success of last season, during which the Ephwomen captured a NESCAC title, qualified for the NCAA tournament and had two girls named to the All-American team, Captains Molly Jennings ’04 and Scott. This year, the team is returning 16 players and gaining five first-years. Cathleen Clark ’07 and Ashley Sewell ’07 played most of Saturday’s game and significantly contributed to Williams’ offensive domination.

“We have another great squad this year,” Rorke said. “We have excellent communication that is allowing us to really play together on the field. Our first-year players have a lot of speed and confidence to add to our play and all of our returnees are coming out strong. I would like to see us work on finishing in the circle, but I am excited to see where we can take it this season.”

From the way the players worked together on Saturday, it’s obvious that even at this early point in the year the team has already begun to draw on each other’s strengths on the field and hopefully their unity will only get stronger as the season progresses.

The team will play its first league game here at Williams on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Connecticut College in what will be their first NESCAC game of the season. The Camels will open their season on Wednesday against Smith at home before making the trip to the Purple Valley. The Camels are fresh off a successful trip to Holland, where they competed against some of the finest field hockey players in the world.