TCNJ puts end to women’s soccer’s NCAA title hopes

Second-ranked women’s soccer saw its dreams of a NCAA championship slip away when No. 23 The College of New Jersey upset the team 1-0 in the Sweet 16 on Nov. 21. A tough, physical game saw the Lions score the only goal of the game at Cole Field and left the Ephs with a 19-1 record for the season.

Both teams brought their most competitive play to the field, upping their games to match the high stakes of the match-up. The teams’ intense play and quick whistles on the part of the officials came together to total 33 fouls and two yellow cards; however, neither team was intimidated by the aggressive atmosphere on the field.

Statistically, the two teams seemed evenly matched – both Williams and TCNJ had 13 shots during the game. The Ephs had two especially good scoring opportunities in the second half: before TCNJ scored at the 64-minute mark, Sara Wild ’11 took a shot off of a free kick that nearly sailed just beneath the crossbar, but TCNJ’s keeper Jessie Clarke managed to get her hands on the ball and prevent the goal. Clarke also managed to save a powerful shot by tri-captain Sarah Walmsley ’10 with only 17 minutes left in the game, heping to keep TCNJ’s 1-0 lead for the rest of the game. She stopped nine shots on the day.

The Ephs’ loss in sectionals was undoubtedly disappointing after a perfect season regular season and aspirations for a Final Four appearance and an NCAA championship. The loss left seniors Walmsley, tri-captain Brianna Wolfson ’10, goalkeeper Lauren Sinnenberg ’10 and Christine Jones ’10 with a career record of 63-6-1. In their four years at Williams, the seniors led the Ephs from an unranked team to one of the best teams in the country. In their four years, the seniors traveled to the NCAA three times, with two Sweet 16 appearances and one Final Four showing.

This season, Sinnenberg was named a First Team Academic All-American. She was the first women’s soccer player to do so in Williams’ history.

The team’s improvement over the past few years and this season’s success gives the team a foundation from which to start for next season. The team will return 20 players from this year’s roster, including tri-captain Kara Dugan ’11.