Field hockey clinches NESCAC playoff spot

Field hockey (6-7, 4-5 in the NESCAC) earned a hard-fought victory over Colby on Saturday to secure a spot in the NESCAC tournament. Williams is currently eighth in the conference.

The game opened with offensive pressure by Colby, who earned a penalty corner and notched a shot just 20 seconds into play. However, the Ephs answered back with Caitlin Conlon ’15, Emily Pavlini ’14 and co-captain Casey Greene ’13 all registering shots against Mule keeper Michelle Burt. Although Colby earned five penalty corners in the first half, the Williams defense held the game scoreless until after the break.

Williams earned a penalty corner 13 minutes into the first half, and although defender Betsy Hart ’14 took a solid shot on goal, Burt turned her attempt away. Greene made several runs down the left side of the field, beating her defender and crossing the ball in front of the cage, but the women could not convert in the first half. The half ended with another Eph corner as time wound down, but again the Mules’ defense held strong to keep the score at 0-0.

“We had a good effort in the first half,” Head Coach Alix Barrale ’93 said. “We were hustling to the ball and playing as a team but needed to make a few adjustments to get the win.”

Two penalty corner opportunities with fewer than two minutes played in the second half resulted in shots by Greene and Annie VanWagenen ’16, but both went wide of the cage. Colby earned two corners of its own and was able to put one in the cage with 26:41 to play in the half, making the score 1-0.

The Ephs answered back seven minutes later, with a beautiful carry by VanWagenen down the left side. VanWagenen drew Burt to the left corner of the cage and then slipped the ball to Katie Jolin ’15 at the stroke mark. Burt slid out, but Jolin read the play and popped the ball over the keeper to make the score 1-1.

Three penalty corners in a row earned another goal for the Ephs, as Cary Hairfield ’15 notched a goal to put the women up 2-1 in a scramble in front of the net with 10 minutes to play. Although Colby had four more corners as time wound down, the women held them off and secured the win.

“We are excited to have secured our spot in the NESCAC tournament,” Barrale said. “We have seen our hard work in practice and in games pay off.”

The women will face No. 1 Middlebury tonight at 6 p.m. on Renzie Lamb field. Although the Ephs have already secured a playoff berth, the result of this game and the final conference games will determine the team’s ranking and opponent for the first round of the NESCAC tournament on Saturday. Game hosts for Saturday’s quarterfinal games will be determined by the remainder of the week’s conference play; all games will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The semifinals and championship games will take place on Nov. 3 and 4, respectively.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *