Field hockey splits NESCAC weekend

Field hockey (2-5, 1-4 in the NESCAC) split a pair of tightly-contested conference games last weekend, beating Conn. College 1-0 on Saturday at home before falling at Middlebury on Sunday by a score of 2-1.

Middlebury began Sunday afternoon on the offensive, but could not put the ball past Williams’s goaltender Nina Kumar ’16, who tallied six saves in the first half. As the second half commenced, the game remained a defensive stalemate until 53:47 when a penalty corner allowed Middlebury’s Lauren Berestecky to score off a rebound from a shot by Catherine Fowler. Fowler, who had 10 shots in the contest, earned herself a goal minutes later. Off a penalty corner, she knocked home a shot off an assist from Ellinore O’Brien at 56:02.

Williams finally broke through offensively at 68:30: Cary Hairfield ’15 found the back of the net after a pass from Rachel Brissette ’17. With only 1:30 left in the game, however, this proved to be merely a consolation goal that came too little and too late. The Panthers took the game 2-1.

The women conceded 20 penalty corners and 18 shots on goal, a lopsided tally, as the Ephs managed only one penalty corner and three shots on goal. This discrepancy, however, is not a proper characterization of the game, as the women’s defense and goaltending proved stalwart in keeping the game close, consistently thwarting the relentless Middlebury attack.

“I think Midd. was one of our best games,” said Head Coach Alix Barrale ’93. “Every other game they played this season, they had scored in the first half. It was an accomplishment to hold them for as long as we did. Offensively, we were hurting ourselves more than anything. That’s a game we could have won.”

On Saturday, the women took home the win in a one-goal game against Conn. College. The Ephs came out strong and dominated the first half, maintaining possession and getting many good offensive opportunities. With 11 first-half shots, the Ephs first struck pay dirt at 23:47, as Caitlin Conlon ’15 and Katie Jolin ’15 teamed up for Jolin’s first goal of the season. Several Camel runs were thwarted by the Ephs’ defense as the Ephs maintained control of the half.

As the game progressed into the second half, the women started right where they left off, gaining a quick penalty corner and continuing to be a threat offensively. However, the Camels pushed back, and 15 minutes into the second half, they almost put one past Kumar. The Ephs’ goalkeeper executed a brilliant kick save to her left to keep the Camels off the scoreboard. Conn. College drew three corners in the final three minutes in a desperate attempt to knot the game at one but the women’s defense stymied its opponents.

The Ephs took 12 shots and drew 11 penalty corners in the game compared with the Camels’ three shots and five penalty corners.

“I thought we really gelled well against Conn. College,” Barrale said. “It was one of our best games by far. I believe that with every game, every part of our game is improving. In the first few games of the season, we were back on our heels, letting teams score in the first half, whereas against Union and against Conn. College, we scored first and kept the pressure on them.”

The women take on Springfield away at 7 p.m. tonight.