Women’s lax struggles for wins

Following two promising wins in its first two games, women’s lacrosse (2-5, 1-4 in the NESCAC) suffered a series of five setbacks, culminating in a 9-8 loss to Wesleyan last Saturday.

The Ephs traveled to meet the Cardinals, and although the game started off strong for Williams, the women ultimately lost their hold in the second half. Within five minutes of play, Julia Nawrocki ’09 and Britt Spackman ’09 both broke through Wesleyan’s defense for a pair of goals. Cardinal Maggie Lile quickly responded with two goals of her own, tying the game until Whitney Thayer ’10 – assisted by Spackman – picked up another point. Unassisted, Tina Nawrocki ’10 scored another goal for the Ephs, but the Cardinals brought the score to 4-3 by the half.

Spackman led off the second period with another goal, but Sarah Orkin and Jess Chukwu scored in succession for Wesleyan to tie the contest. Tina Nawrocki scored for the Ephs with 20 minutes left to play, assisted by Sarah Adkins ’08. But Chukwu scored two goals in a row to turn the tables 7-6. Although Anne Marie Burke ’11 and Julia Nawrocki brought in two more points for the women, Orkin and Allie Lynch sealed the game for Wesleyan in the final seven minutes of the game.
The Ephs outshot the Cardinals 28-22, but lost the contest, 9-8.

“We didn’t play well,” Head Coach Chris Mason said. “We had played a good game against Middlebury, and we didn’t play with the same intensity against Wesleyan. I would have liked to have seen our attackers win the ball back more, and see us move the ball through the midfield better, as well as be more aggressive in trying to score.”

The women entered the Wesleyan game coming off of a 13-10 loss to Middlebury. Last Friday the Panthers racked up five successive goals in the first half before Julia Nawrocki knocked in one for the Ephs with less than ten minutes to go in the first period. For the rest of the half, the Ephs and the Panthers traded goals, finishing with a score of 7-2. Williams came back from the break with aggression and determination as they took some control in the second half and brought the score to 7-6. The Ephs knocked in four goals in the first ten minutes, but the Panthers regained the upper-hand to take the game. Rookie goaltender, Julia Schreiber ’11, pulled off 22 saves throughout the game. Middlebury, however, outshot the women dramatically, 40-21.

In their March 29 game at Bates, the women fell 13-7 with ball-handling problems and 28 turnovers. The Bobcats swung ahead 3-0 before co-captain Sara duPont ’08 lit up the scoreboards for the Ephs; she would finish with two goals under her belt. Allison Murray ’08 also picked up two goals. Other scoring Ephs were Burke, Tina Nawrocki and Alice Nelson ’10. Bates collected five goals in the second half, while the women mustered only four.

Over spring break, the women played two games in West Palm Beach, Fla., against Colby on March 26 and Union on March 23.
The Ephs posted a 20-12 loss to the Mules, and a 16-7 loss to the Dutchwomen.

“Despite our losses, we’re an enthusiastic team,” duPont said. “We have an enthusiastic, spirit, and hard-working group going for us, and we’re very close to breaking through.”

On March 15, the women narrowly defeated Tufts with a score of 14-13 in their NESCAC opener. The exciting conclusion to the game came when Whitney Kelly ’10 netted the final goal in the last four minutes. Adkins notched an assist on the play. Kelly was also the top scorer of the game, posting four goals.

In their first contest of the year on March 13, the Ephs soundly defeated the Engineers at MIT, 15-7. Thayer made the first goal of the year for the Ephs at 27:10 in the first half, and Tina Nawrocki began her season tenaciously with three goals and one assist.

In their next contest, the women will focus on honing their talent on the field. “We hope to do the basic skills better, to move the ball better, and play with more intensity,” Mason said.
However, the team is looking to learn from past losses and set up a strong playing environment in the future. “It’s frustrating because we’re a great team that’s not playing to its potential, but now, we’re the underdogs,” co-captain Lauren Kennedy ’08 said. “Now the pressure’s off, and it’s a great way to play.”

The Ephs are next scheduled to play the Jeffs at home on Saturday.