Field hockey secures NESCAC playoff bid

Field hockey (5-8, 3-6 in the NESCAC) downed a resilient Bates team 1-0 on Saturday during a memorable Senior Day at Renzie Lamb Field. Seniors Anne Longobardo ’14, Emily Pavlini ’14 and co-captains Emily Jablonski ’14 and Ariana Spiliotes ’14 were honored before the game and contributed to a victory over the NESCAC foe.

The women began the game with an onslaught of offensive pressure, generating two penalty corners and five shots in the first five minutes of play. However, Bates also generated first half opportunities, notably a run near the 15-minute mark that was beautifully broken up by Katie Gallop ’17 as the ball was inserted into the center of the box. These back-and-forth offensive chances characterized much of the first half. As the Ephs smoothly transitioned the ball downfield after this defensive stand, they mustered another promising scoring opportunity only to have several shots turned away by Bates netminder Becca Otley.

As the half progressed, Eph goalie Spiliotes also proved her worth, as she denied several shots and a penalty corner around the 25-minute mark. In a final offensive push, Williams took nine shots in the final four minutes of play in the first half, determined to put one in the net. The charge was not fruitful, however, as a last-second shot resulting from a penalty set corner was impressively deflected high by Otley’s blocker and the women ended the half knotted at 0-0. Williams took 17 shots in the half and garnered four penalty corners to Bates’ six shots and four penalty corners.

The second half proved very similar to the first, as both teams generated many promising but unsuccessful scoring opportunities. Williams was on offense for most of the half and took 19 shots to Bates’ eight. Annie VanWagenen ’16 had a couple of drives that could have resulted in goals, but none did. At 55:00, Spiliotes had to make a diving save to prevent the Bobcats from getting on the scoresheet.

On a quick counterattack at 64:31, the Ephs found themselves a man up. Jablonski found Caitlin Conlon ’15, who was positioned on the left of the arc. Conlon took on Otley and powered a backhanded shot past her to break the deadlock. Conlon’s score gave the women a 1-0 lead over Bates. Jablonski received a chance to extend the lead and put the game to bed with just over one minute remaining in the contest, as she faced Otley in another one-on-one situation. However, she was unable to convert. The Ephs maintained control and closed out the game, winning 1-0.

Williams took an impressive 36 total shots to Bates’ 14 in the contest, and Spiliotes ended the game with five saves, while Otley had 19.

“Bates was a hard-fought win,” Head Coach Alix Barrale ’93 said. “We controlled play throughout the game with strong passing and great offensive transition. We had 36 shots on goal so we were creating many offensive opportunities but having difficulty getting by the Bates goalkeeper who was exceptional in net.”

The women take on Hamilton at home today at 6 p.m. on Renzie Lamb Field in their last regular season contest. Williams is currently tied with Wesleyan for eighth place in the NESCAC. Eight teams will qualify for postseason play, and Bates, Conn. College and Hamilton are two games behind Williams and Wesleyan, so the women can look forward to playing in the NESCAC playoffs.