Rallying from an early one-goal deficit, women’s soccer earned its first conference victory last Saturday with a 2-1 win over Bates. Despite the close score, the Ephs dominated offensively throughout the game, registering 40 shots on goal to Bates’ five.
Although the score may seem low compared to last year’s 6-0 annihilation of the Bobcats, this season’s game was different in a variety of ways. Williams had not beaten Bates in an away game in six years, and Bates came into the match with a wealth of fresh, previously unseen talent; 12 of their 23 players are first-years.
“Bates is always tough in Maine,” Head Coach Michelyne Pinard said. “I am very pleased with how hard we worked and how hard we battled. Winning in Maine is never easy, so we are very pleased with this result.”
Williams’ defense was a bit disorganized as the game began. Bates forward Amanda Gifford scored in the 23rd minute by collecting a rebound just outside the penalty box, putting the Bobcats ahead 1-0. However, this lead was short-lived, as the Ephs retained their composure and quickly regained control of the ball. Brianna Wolfson ’10 tied the game just five minutes later, scoring off an assist by Lauren Garcia ’09.
Despite some unlucky misses and impressive saves by the Bobcats, the Ephs could not convert on valuable opportunities and entered halftime tied.
Williams entered the second half aggressively, continuing to control the ball and dominate the field. In the 65th minute the Ephs finally capitalized on their offensive power as Jacqueline Russo ’11, assisted by Wolfson, put Williams ahead. Neither teams scored in the remaining minutes, finalizing the Ephs’ 2-1 victory.
“I think it was important that we powered through the Bates game,” said co-captain Caitlin Colesanti ’09. “They put up good opposition and it was vital that we kept shooting and fighting our way through. We went down 1-0, but we were able to come back from it. I think it really showed our toughness as a team to be able to come back from a deficit.”
Williams faced a few lineup changes entering the game against Bates. Starting outside back Elizabeth Danhakl ’11 suffered a concussion during practice earlier in the week and was unable to play in the game. Fortunately for the Ephs, Anne Marie Burke ’11 has had plenty of practice in Danhakl’s position this season and was able to step up to the challenge of starting at outside back against the Bobcats. Kara Duggan ’11 and Wolfson helped out in back to compensate for the change. “Duggan kept us together in the back and Brianna Wolfson really had a big impact on the game in the attacking third,” said Pinard. “Both played with a competitive fire that kept everyone going.”
Hoping to continue their two-game winning streak, the team will play a non-conference match at Springfield today at 5 p.m.
“Our plans for Springfield are to keep at it,” said Colesanti. “They’re an aggressive team and we want to be the best we can be. It was great to play Bates before Springfield because they play pretty similar styles to one another. They are both aggressive and physical. We are doing everything we can to ensure that we’re ready for Springfield.”
Pinard echoed these thoughts. “We are very excited to play Springfield on Wednesday,” she said. “It is always a great game with two very athletic teams going at each other.”