Women’s lacrosse (8-4, 4-3 in the NESCAC) continued to surge ahead of the competition, winning all three of its match-ups last week to extend its win streak to five games. Last week saw the women dominate Skidmore 15-11 and MIT 12-5 before coming through with a 13-7 victory over Wesleyan on Saturday to capture the team’s first Little Three title since 2000.
According to co-captain Whitney Thayer ’10, the exhilarating six-goal rally at the end of the Amherst game was a turning point in the season, fueling confidence and building momentum that translated into strong play over the past two weeks.
“We were coming off of a great win against Amherst, and that gave us the confidence that we could play well,” Thayer said. “We definitely wanted to win the Little Threes, so we came into the Wesleyan game fired up. It’s exciting for me and the other seniors.”
Williams dominated Saturday’s competition with Wesleyan almost from the start. The Cardinals struck first, with Cardinal defender Catherine Taibi notching a goal three minutes into the game. The Ephs were quick to respond and did so in dominating fashion, scoring the next seven goals to take firm control of the game. Tracey Ferriter ’10 began the barrage with a goal two minutes later, with Katie Ellis ’12 picking up the assist. Thayer had three goals during the team’s first half offensive run, and Sam Weinstein ’13, Margie Fulton ’12 and Anne Marie Burke ’11 each chipped in one. Another goal from Taibi finally ended the Ephs’ spree, but not the half’s scoring: In the final two minutes, the two teams traded goals, as Ferriter and Fulton each scored again, sandwiching a goal by Wesleyan attacker Averill Roberto to give the women a 9-3 lead headed into the intermission.
“Wesleyan came out early, but we took a phenomenal lead and then held on,” Head Coach Christine Mason said. According to Mason, the run was fueled by continued ball possession and awareness, which in turn opened up scoring opportunities.
Williams continued its attack in the second half, scoring three more times in succession to make the score 12-3. Thayer picked up her fourth goal of the afternoon, Weinstein tallied her team-leading 27th goal of the season and Fulton added her third of the game. Wesleyan’s Erin McCarthy scored to cut the lead to eight midway through the half, but attacker Tina Nawrocki ’10 responded by hurling the ball into the back of the net after receiving a feed from Meera Sivalingam ’12. Silvalingam and Ellis led the team in assists for the game, tallying three each. The Cardinals scored three more times in the final 10 minutes in an attempt to catch up, but the rally fell far short as the Ephs went on to capture the Little Three with their 13-7 victory.
“It’s nice to win that title outright for the first time in a long time,” said Mason, also citing the importance of two conference wins in terms of the rest of the team’s season.
Goalkeeper Julia Schreiber ’11 had a dominating performance, stopping 13 of the 18 shots she faced for a 72.2 percent save percentage. “Julia Schreiber was fantastic in goal,” said Mason. “It’s great to have an anchor in goal that the team can rally around,” agreed Thayer. Backup Kate Foley ’12 was successful in closing out the game, picking up four saves while allowing two goals in just under seven minutes of action.
Penalties played a role, as the Ephs capitalized on seven Cardinal yellow cards to score five extra-man goals. Free-position shots were also key to the game, as Williams was able to convert on four of nine free-position shots, while Wesleyan was 0-9.
“It was quite a physical game with aggressive play on both sides,” said Mason. “We’re really trying to clean up our fouls. I was pleased with our poise.”
On Thursday, the Ephs traveled to MIT and picked up a resounding 12-5 victory. Ellis led the team with three goals and four assists and the team’s defense held MIT to just 16 shots on the game, forcing 23 turnovers with its aggressive play. The day before Williams defeated Skidmore 15-11 at home, with Fulton, Thayer and Weinstein scoring three goals apiece. Ellis also helped to spearhead the offense, but this time in a supporting role: She notched four assists on the game.
According to Mason, there was some concern over fatigue in the back-to-back games, but the team’s depth and resiliency came through. “It was a good team effort. We got a lot of people involved,” Mason said. “It’s good for your toughness and fitness.”
The women played last night at home against Springfield, but the results came in too late to report. They will next face Bowdoin on Saturday at noon in the Ephs’ last regular season home game.
“They’re three really big games, we’re hoping to win out,” said Thayer. Conference wins will be crucial in deciding seeding for the upcoming NESCAC tournament. With two victories, the Ephs can potentially clinch a home game in the first round. “In this conference, anybody can beat anybody,” said Mason. “It’s a tough schedule, but that’s what makes it fun.”
Williams will go up against Middlebury on April 30 in its last regular season contest.