Late goal keeps women’s soccer undefeated

In a bitter battle against the Jeffs (8-1-3, 6-0-2 in the NESCAC) on Saturday, women’s soccer (12-0-1, 7-0-1) narrowly avoided its first loss of the season. The conference match took place at Amherst, although a healthy number of Williams fans braved impending rain to attend the event.

Amherst forward Jackie Hirsch scored the first goal in the 24th minute, providing the Jeffs with the 1-0 lead which they held for the majority of the match. A fierce back-and-forth struggle ensued, with neither team scoring again until the end of the second half.

Although the Ephs and the Jeffs each had opportunities in the box, both teams struggled to establish offensive momentum.
While most of the game was evenly matched, the Ephs were penalized significantly more than the Jeffs. Williams was called for 19 fouls compared to only nine against Amherst. Despite this discrepancy, however, Williams maintained its morale and continued to fight into the final minutes of the game.

Fans and players alike held their breath when the game clock reached the two minute mark with the Ephs still trailing 1-0. One minute and three seconds to the final whistle, Williams’ offensive pressure caused Amherst keeper Allie Horwitz to drop the ball just in front of the goal, where Gabrielle Woodson ’09 was able to poke it into the net and tie up the score. The 90 minutes of standard play time ended in a 1-1 tie, and was followed by two 10-minute halves of overtime. Despite several strong offensive plays on Williams’ part, the score remained 1-1, and the game was officially declared a tie after 110 minutes of play.

Williams took 17 shots to Amherst’s 18 and seven corner kicks to Amherst’s six. Williams keeper Lauren Sinnenberg ’10 had an incredible performance, repeatedly blocking dangerous Amherst shots, and totaling seven saves over the course of the game.
“As a player, you wait all season to play Amherst,” said co-captain Clare Gallagher ’09 of Saturday’s match. “It was a physical game and a great test of our mental toughness as a team. The soccer was not always pretty, but in the end we were able to battle through and find a way to score. It was an unbelievable team effort, and we are hoping to meet Amherst again in the NESCAC tournament.”

Despite the tie, Williams remains first in the NESCAC standings with a conference record of 7-0-1. Amherst, having also tied Bowdoin in conference play, is in second place.

A little October snow didn’t stop the team from trouncing Keene State in last Wednesday’s non-conference match. Williams dominated the field completely, producing a total of 32 shots to Keene State’s four. At first, the Ephs were unlucky in their scoring attempts, and the first half ended with a 0-0 score.

However, the squad hit its stride in the second half. Woodson scored off an assist by Jacqueline Russo ’11 in the 49th minute, and Annelise Snyder ’11, assisted by Brett Eisenhart ’12, put the ball in the net in the 71st minute. Eisenhart scored a third goal for the Ephs in the 83rd minute, establishing a final score of 3-0.

“The Keene State game really helped us find our rhythm again before going into Amherst,” said Gallagher of the shutout.

The Ephs play their final conference game on Cole Field this Friday at 2 p.m. They will face Middlebury, who is currently third in the NESCAC standings with a record of 6-2-0.