Field hockey tops Jeffs, advances in NESCACs

Field hockey (9-6, 5-4 in the NESCAC) entered Saturday’s game against Amherst (8-7, 4-5) coming off of three straight losses and struggling to convert offensively. But in the Ephs’ final regular season game, Williams connected in the circle, topping Amherst at home, 3-0. The next day in the NESCAC tournament, the Ephs repeated their previous win, beating the Jeffs again, 3-1. After winning two in a row, the team hopes its new momentum will carry it far in the conference tournament.

The Ephs’ struggles with scoring this season shaped their attitudes entering Saturday’s game against Amherst. They started the game strong, controlling possession for almost the entire first half. The Jeffs’ defense could not stop the Ephs as they fired 19 shots on goal in the first period alone. One of these shots finally converted about halfway through the first when Amy Siedlecki ’10 took a shot off of a penalty corner. Siedlecki’s shot rebounded off the Jeffs goalie and Cary Bearn ’08 stroked the ball into the back of the net for an early 1-0 Eph lead. Williams scored again before halftime as Anne de Saint Phalle ’10 scored off an assist from Sally Cobb ’09. Entering the break, Williams capitalized on its opportunities and the 2-0 lead proved it.

Returning from halftime, Amherst played much stronger field hockey. The Jeffs controlled the ball much more than in the first half, as possession switched evenly between both teams in the second period. The Eph defense held strong against the Jeffs’ aggressive offense, not allowing any of their five second half shots to score. Goalie Bethany Baker ’10 played a great defensive game as she made five saves on the day, clinching the Ephs shutout. Near the end of the game, Williams added another insurance goal when Julia Nawrocki ’09 scored off another Cobb assist. Cobb’s play throughout the game helped advance the offense and motivate the team. “Sally Cobb, junior forward, played one of the best games I have ever seen,” Charlotte VanWagenen ’08 said. “She was constantly hustling to every ball and stimulated a lot of activity on the offensive line, which proved integral to our victory.”

Williams’ memories of last season did not allow them to be overly confident entering the NESCAC tournament against Amherst the next day. Last year Williams beat Amherst 5-1 on Saturday and then lost to the Jeffs 1-0 the following day. “Recognizing that the team we beat on Saturday would be totally different than the team that we were to play on Sunday was key,” VanWagenen said. “Also, being able to pick up our level of play for playoffs was necessary for our success. We were excited for the game on Sunday, but aware of the stakes that were on the line.”

Sunday’s game proved to be much different than last year’s match-up, as the Ephs continued their offensive power from the day before. The first half resembled the second half of their previous game as Amherst and Williams competed for the ball the entire first half. Williams was finally able to convert one of their six shots on goal late in the first half when de Saint Phalle stroked in a goal off an assist from Meighan McGowan ’08. The Eph defense held the Jeffs back – they had no shots on goal in the first. With their strong defense and aggressive offensive play, Williams entered the half with a 1-0 lead.

The second half began like the first half. Play was split evenly between the two teams until Williams added two more insurance goals to bring their lead to 3-0. McGowan scored a goal from a Rebecca Gilbert ’10 assist. Bearn followed McGowan’s lead scoring an unassisted goal with under 10 minutes left in the game. While Amherst responded with one goal of its own, it would not prove to be enough. Williams’ 3-1 win over Amherst kept their season alive and advanced the team in the NESCAC tournament.

Williams’ ability and determination to score last weekend gave the team the edge over Amherst in both games. “We knew our weakness, and attacking it head on in this game was important,” VanWagenen said. “Alix [Rorke] has continually spoken about the importance in scoring, and our motivation and skill came together on Saturday, resulting in three goals. Again, we were able to do the same thing on Sunday, further proving to us the importance in scoring early and often.”

No. 4 seed Williams will take on No.1 seed Bowdoin on Saturday. “I couldn’t be more excited to have another shot at Bowdoin this weekend,” VanWagenen said. “Our loss to them earlier in the season (1-0) was close, and I am confident that if we all bring our best games, we will be unstoppable.”

Near the end of the game, Williams added another insurance goal when Julia Nawrocki ’09 scored off of another Cobb assist. Cobb’s play throughout the game helped advance the offense and motivate the team. “Sally Cobb, junior forward, played one of the best games I have ever seen,” Charlotte VanWagenen ’08 said. “She was constantly hustling to every ball and stimulated a lot of activity on the offensive line, which proved integral to our victory.”

Williams’ memories of last season did not allow them to be overly confident entering the NESCAC tournament against Amherst the next day. Last year Williams beat Amherst 5-1 on Saturday and then lost to the Jeffs 1-0 the following day. “Recognizing that the team we beat on Saturday would be totally different than the team that we were to play on Sunday was key,” VanWagenen said. “Also, being able to pick up our level of play for playoffs was necessary for our success. We were excited for the game on Sunday, but aware of the stakes that were on the line.”

Sunday’s game proved to be much different than last year’s matchup, as the Ephs continued their offensive power from the day before. The first half resembled the second half of their previous game as Amherst and Williams competed for the ball the entire first half. Williams was finally able to convert one of their six shots on goal late in the first half when de Saint Phalle stroked in a goal off an assist from Meighan McGowan ’08. The Eph defense held the Jeffs back – they had no shots on goal in the first. With their strong defense and aggressive offensive play, Williams entered the half with a 1-0 lead.

The second half began like the first half. Play was split evenly between the two teams until Williams added two more insurance goals to bring their lead to 3-0. McGowan scored a goal from a Rebecca Gilbert ’10 assist. Bearn followed McGowan’s lead scoring an unassisted go with under 10 minutes left in the game. While Amherst responded with one goal of its own, it would not prove to be enough. Williams’ 3-1 win over Amherst kept their season alive and advanced the team in the NESCAC tournament.

Williams’ ability and determination to score last weekend gave the team the edge over Amherst in both games. “We knew our weakness, and attacking it head on in this game was important,” VanWagenen said. “Alix [Rorke] has continually spoken about the importance in scoring, and our motivation and skill came together on Saturday, resulting in three goals. Again, we were able to do the same thing on Sunday, further proving to us the importance in scoring early and often.”

No. 4 seed Williams will take on No.1 seed Bowdoin on Saturday. “I couldn’t be more excited to have another shot at Bowdoin this weekend,” VanWagenen said. “Our loss to them earlier in the season (1-0) was close, and I am confident that if we all bring our best games, we will be unstoppable.”