Field hockey falls to Tufts, Union

Field hockey (5-8, 5-3 in the NESCAC) fell 3-0 to Tufts (12-1, 7-1) on Saturday, following a tough loss to Union (7-7) on Wednesday.
Saturday’s game was played on a slippery field caused by a constant downpour that challenged the women from the start. Tufts turned on the heat right away, with an immediate barrage of shots and penalty corners, resulting in Jess Perkins finding the net on an assist from Michelle Kelly less than four minutes into the period.

Williams tightened its defense and held the score at 1-0 for the rest of the half but was unable to get any offensive momentum. The Ephs made no shots or penalty corners in the period, compared with 15 and 10 respectively for Tufts.

The Jumbos increased their lead just over a minute into the second half, when Kelly slammed the ball into the goal after an assist from Tamara Brown. Less than 10 minutes later, Amanda Russo took a shot that was deflected by Eph keeper Katrina Tulla ’11, who ran out of the goal to make the save. However, the ball ricocheted off Tulla’s pads right to Brown, who lifted it past Tulla and into the goal, bringing the score to 3-0.
The Jumbos held their lead until the end; they outshot the Ephs 11-1 and took eight penalty corners to Williams’ zero.

“We were able to hang with them for some of the game,” captain Anne de Saint Phalle ’10 said, “but we had a few problems defensively, and the offense made some mistakes as well.”

Tulla played the whole game and had 17 saves. The total was her highest for the season, and her play was a large factor in Williams’ ability to keep the game as close as it did.

The loss was especially tough following Williams’ fall to Union 2-0 earlier in the week. The team played sluggishly for most of the game, perhaps feeling the loss of de Saint Phalle, who was out due to issues with her injured knee. This year, de Saint Phalle started the season late due to the injury but had no further problems until Oct. 15, when she fell in the game against Hamilton.

On Wednesday, Union took the lead for good 20 minutes into the first period, when Tyler Willey fired a deflected shot into the net. The Dutchwomen continued with a goal less than three minutes into the second period by Isabel Zellweger.

Williams was outshot 23 to 17 overall and managed seven fewer penalty corners than Union. The Ephs made an impressive effort towards the end of the game, with nine of their 12 shots in the second half occurring in the last six minutes, but it came too late.

“We weren’t working that well together until the last 15 minutes of the game,” de Saint Phalle said. “We had a good run in the last few minutes but it was too late.”

Williams will play its final game of the regular season on Friday at Middlebury. A win will give the team the advantage of playing at home for the first round of the NESCAC tournament, while a loss means the women could start the post season away.

“I think we just need to focus on what we’re doing rather then what they’re doing and we’ll be fine,” de Saint Phalle said.

The conference tournament will begin Sunday.