Jumbos drop field hockey

Along with many other Williams sports last weekend, field hockey (7-5, 4-4 in the NESCAC) faced off against Tufts (9-3, 6-2) on Saturday. Unfortunately, the team did not fare as well as the other Ephs competing at home, falling to the Jumbos 3-1.

A strong Tufts team challenged Williams right from the beginning. The Jumbos scored their first goal of the game after just over nine minutes into play. Tufts’ Jess Perkins converted a penalty corner into a goal, putting Tufts in the early lead. Williams responded almost 20 minutes later when Sally Cobb ’09 brought the ball into the crowded circle. The ball was passed first to Meighan McGowan ’09, then Charlotte VanWagenen ’08 who dumped it into the net, tying the score.

Williams and Tufts split control of the ball in the first half. The Jumbos were able to fire four shots on goal to the Ephs’ two; and while the Ephs had six penalty corners to the Jumbos’ four, Williams failed to capitalize. Head Coach Alix Rorke was aware of the strength of the Tufts team. “Tufts has a strong passing game and great speed on the forward line,” Rorke said. “Their corners were perfectly executed resulting in two goals.”

As the Jumbos came back from halftime with new determination, the Ephs worked hard to stay in the game. Just seven minutes into the second half, Tufts again showed off its dominant passing game. Margi Scholtes scored off of another Jumbo penalty corner, advancing Tufts to a one-point lead. Williams’ fighting spirit, however, did not wane, as Jess Overlander ’09 possessed tremendous offensive and defensive skills, helping the Ephs stay in the game through the end. McGowan was also a standout player against Tufts, pushing hard on offense.

“[Overlander] keeps us in every game with her ‘die hard’ style of play,” Rorke said. “I also thought that Meighan McGowan stepped it up on offense. She was being marked but was still able to make things happen in the circle. She had beautiful crosses that would have been goals had we been in proper position.”

Despite the Ephs’ best efforts, the Jumbos added an insurance goal late in the game to solidify their final 3-1 win. Tufts outshot Williams 10-7, but the Ephs’ real downfall stemmed from their inability to convert their 14 penalty corners. The Jumbos, in contrast, scored two goals off of five penalty corners. Tufts’ presence in the circle provided Eph goalie Lauren Sinnenberg ’10 with a busy game. Both teams’ goalies made four saves in the contest.

“Even though Tufts scored twice in the second half, we played much better in the second half than the first,” McGowan said. “We dominated in terms of possession but they got a few lucky fast breaks that really hurt us.”

Williams played Skidmore last night but the results came in too late for publication. Williams will next play Amherst on Saturday at home for their final game of the regular season.

“Playing at home is always an advantage so hopefully that will help us in these last two games,” McGowan said. “Given the long rivalry between Williams and Amherst, it will be an even more competitive game than usual. Amherst always seems to bring their best game against us, but we are ready for the challenge.”