Field hockey drops opener to Colby

Field hockey (0-1, 0-1 in the NESCAC) opened its season last Saturday with a loss to NESCAC foe Colby. Shutout by a score of 3-0, the Ephs were stymied offensively all afternoon, while the persistent Mules took advantage of their fast-break opportunities and odd-man rushes against a solid Eph defensive line.

Right off the bat, Colby put the pressure on the women, as Caitlin Murray threaded a downfield pass to teammate Hanna Hearn, beating Williams goalie and co-captain Ariana Spiliotes ’14 for a fast-break goal 1:16 into the game. Despite Colby’s quick start, Spiliotes and Williams defenders Jaclyn Porfillo ’15 and Annie Rojas ’15 bounced back and kept the women alive in the game for the rest of half. They thwarted two penalty corners and eight additional shots following the Mules’ first goal. The Ephs also fought back offensively, maintaining their composure and garnering three penalty corners and taking five shots in the first half.  Despite its resilience, Williams went into the locker room at halftime with a 1-0 deficit.

Once again, Colby started quickly, finding the back of the net for its second goal of the afternoon at 1:39 into the second half. As with Colby’s first strike, the goal was also a fast-break finish, as Charlotte Deavers converted a textbook tip-in on a cross-field pass from teammate Megan Fortier.

After the promising finish to the first half, the quick goal seemed to deter the Ephs, as the Mules grew stronger and more confident as the second half progressed. Williams continued to fight, however, as offensive weapons Caitlin Conlin ’15, who took six of the team’s 12 shots in the contest, and last year’s team points leader Annie VanWagenen ’16 led the offense to several second half offensive opportunities. Spiliotes also continued her solid goalkeeping into the second half, making several impressive saves to keep the Ephs’ hopes alive. However, the athletic and skilled Mules finally shut the door on any comeback hope as Misha Strage buried a goal with 14:22 left in regulation time, putting the game out of reach for the Ephs with a 3-0 Mule lead.

“Colby came ready to play on Saturday, and unfortunately we were caught off guard,” Co-captain Emily Jablonski ’14 said. “A few moments changed the outcome of the game. Our team this year has an incredible amount of talent and we are learning how to play as a unit. We have extremely high hopes for this season and can’t wait for it to unfold. Although we didnt win on Saturday, we had a lot of bright moments from our goalie Ariana [Spiliotes], some of our first-years and others. The amount of depth and talent we have on this team is really exciting.”

The Ephs are extremely young and deep this year with 19 of 29 rostered players belonging to the rookie or sophomore classes. Kit Rosen ’17 and Brigid Bruno ’17 contributed heavily for the Ephs on Saturday, and further college experience will help the team grow and mature.

“We have a lot of really talented freshmen coming in and we’re figuring out how to work together on the field, but we have a lot of potential and in the next few games, we’ll figure out what the team looks like,” Spiliotes said. “We’re a very young team, and it takes some time to figure out how to use the new talent.”

Williams also played at Keene State yesterday, but results came in too late to report. The women play next on Saturday at 12 p.m., when they take on Trinity in Connecticut.