Field hockey struggles in challenging week

Co-captain Whitney Thayer '10 chases down a ball in the Ephs' 3-2 overtime loss to Hamilton on Wednesday.
Co-captain Whitney Thayer ’10 chases down a ball in the Ephs’ 3-2 overtime loss to Hamilton on Wednesday.

Although field hockey (5-6, 5-2 NESCAC) was neck and neck throughout the first period in their game Saturday afternoon against Bowdoin (9-3, 4-3), the team gave up the lead early in the second half and could not regain it, ending the game with a 1-0 loss. The women also fell to Hamilton on Oct. 15 in a non-conference game.

“[It was] not our best week of field hockey,” Head Coach Alix Barrale said.
The game against Bowdoin was scoreless until the second period, when Jessie Small of Bowdoin scored an unassisted goal seven minutes in. Williams was unable to reciprocate, although captains Anne de Saint Phalle ’10 and Whitney Thayer ’10 put on the pressure and made several strong attempts on goal in the final minutes of play.

Bowdoin applied more pressure than Williams throughout the game, taking 17 shots to Williams’ four. They also kept the pressure on with numerous penalty corners, with a total of 17, in contrast to Williams’ two. “We couldn’t generate much offense,” said de Saint Phalle. “We played very defensively the whole game.”

Barrale echoed de Saint Phalle’s sentiments. “We played excellent defense in our circle, but we were unable to create any offense for the majority of the game,” said Barrale. “We had a surge right at the end that gave us a chance to tie up the game, but their goal keeper made a spectacular save, and then Bowdoin kept it in their offensive end with two minutes remaining. Certainly a disappointing loss but to Bowdoin’s credit they outplayed us and deserved to win the game.”

In the Hamilton game on Thursday, the Continentals tallied first when Colleen Callaghan scored off of an assist from Amy Allen only 10 minutes into the game. The Ephs answered less than a minute later when Ariel Lyddane ’12 scored off of a deflected shot by de Saint Phalle. The score remained tied at 1-1 for the rest of the period, although Williams had many opportunities to score, tallying four more penalty corners than Hamilton.

Hamilton gained a 2-1 lead just over two minutes into the second half, when Mary Lancaster scored off of an assist by Callaghan. Williams matched them again, when Kelly Nault ’13 knocked one in three minutes later. The game remained tied until Lancaster scored off of an assist from Allen to bring the final score to 3-2 in favor of Hamilton.

“We dominated the game – we out-cornered them and outshot them, but we were sloppy on defense and made a few costly mistakes when they were in our circle,” Barrale said.

The Ephs lost their first NESCAC game to the Trinity Bantams (2-1) on Oct. 7. “We had a lot of opportunities, we dominated the game, we just couldn’t score,” de Saint Phalle said of the contest. The team rallied and defeated Bates 5-2 on Oct. 10.
All of Williams’ recent losses have been very close, with the Ephs usually falling short by just one goal in all three games. “The fact that we’ve been in all these games, that they’ve been close, is a good sign that if we work on some things like capitalizing on our scoring opportunities we can do well in the postseason,” de Saint Phalle said. “We need to keep up the intensity and generate more offense in close games. We can work on connecting with our passes and transitioning from defense to offense.”

Williams needs to focus on finishing its scoring opportunities and maintaining pressure in the second half if it hopes to be successful in the rest of the season.
The team, currently No. 3 in the NESCAC behind Tufts and Trinity, plays next at Union today at 6 p.m. before a conference game at home against the Jumbos Saturday at 1 p.m.