Ephs conclude NESCAC playoff run with 3-0 loss

Rachel Brisette ’17 tallied the assist on the women’s first goal in their 3-1 win over Hamilton last Wednesday at Renzie Lamb Field. - Photo Courtesy of Sports Information
Rachel Brisette ’17 tallied the assist on the women’s first goal in their 3-1 win over Hamilton last Wednesday at Renzie Lamb Field. – Photo Courtesy of Sports Information

Field hockey (6-9, 4-6 in the NESCAC) fell to second-seeded Tufts 3-0 in the first round of the NESCAC tournament on Saturday, ending its 2013 campaign. Last Wednesday, the women hosted Hamilton in the last regular season game and prevailed 3-1.

Against Tufts on Saturday, Williams came out of the gates strong with aspirations of shocking the reigning national champions. The women controlled the ball, took two shots and gained two penalty corners in the first four minutes of play, creating promising scoring opportunities. However, this pressure did not last, as Tufts quickly turned the momentum of the game in its favor. After three successive penalty corners, the Jumbos first shot of the day found the back of the net at 6:55 in the first half. Tufts’ Allison Rolfe put one past William’s goalie and co-captain Ariana Spiliotes ’14 after a well-played give and go from a penalty corner opportunity.

With the Jumbos holding a 1-0 advantage, the Ephs displayed resiliency and continued to battle for an equalizer. The women created several scoring chances soon after Tufts’ goal, including a shot from Annie VanWagenen ’16 at 15:22. Tufts’ keeper ultimately turned away the sophomore’s attempt. VanWagenen’s shot, however, would be the Ephs’ last of the half, as the Jumbos took firm control of the game. In the final 20 minutes of the half, the Jumbos dominated possession and had many chances to extend their lead, only to be denied by Spiliotes and the Eph defense. Williams finished the half with four shots and five penalty corners, while Tufts had 11 and 15, respectively.

Tufts began the second half much like it ended the first, with control of possession and a continual onslaught of offensive pressure. Unlike in the first half, however, this pressure came to fruition, as the Jumbos scored two goals in the first five minutes of the half to extend their lead to 3-0. At 36:47, Tufts’ Emily Cannon received a pass from teammate Alexandra Jamison and fired a low shot from the top of the circle that found the back of the net. Just minutes later, Jamison netted one of her own at 39:08. Notably, these two goals both came directly off Tufts penalty corners.

The Ephs eventually found some life on offense and traded offensive runs with the Jumbos for the remainder of the half. Nevertheless, none of these offensive opportunities were very promising, and Tufts closed out the game and moved on to the second round of the NESCAC tournament, while Williams’ season came to a close. Spiliotes finished the day with six saves to Kennan’s four.

“Losing to Tufts was an absolute heartbreaker because none of us were ready for the season to end,” co-captain Emily Jablonski ’14 said. “We can’t help but wonder what could have been on a different day or on a different field. Even though we did not advance as far as we had hoped, it’s difficult to regret anything from this season. This team is truly remarkable.”

Last Wednesday, the women played their final game on Renzie Lamb Field. Helped by a brace from VanWagenen, they beat Hamilton 3-1 in their final regular season contest of the year.

Williams controlled the ball for much of the first half and peppered Hamilton goalie Victoria Trentini with 19 first-half shots. At 21:45 in the half, the Ephs’ attack found success, as VanWagenen scored her first goal, driving a shot past Trentini from the top of the circle. Rachel Brisette ’17 had the assist, playing a pretty insert to put the ball in behind the Continentals’ defense. Hamilton would not acquiesce, however, and evened the game at one goal apiece just minutes later: Nikki Haskins scored on a redirect that came about from a Continental penalty corner at 26:47. The rest of the half was marked with relative parity, as several runs by each team were thwarted by strong defenses.

The second half began with a promising scoring opportunity for Hamilton, only to be turned away by Spiliotes and the defense. After this stop, Jablonski led a quick transition down field. Jablonski dodged a defender and moved the ball to VanWagenen, who banged it into the net for her second goal on the day at 40:17. The Ephs’ offensive pressure increased after gaining the lead, and Jablonski scored a goal of her own at 44:52 to increase the women’s lead to two goals. This deficit proved insurmountable for the Continentals, as the Ephs’ defense did not allow any more goals for the duration of the game, resulting in a 3-1 victory. Williams had 31 shots on the evening to Hamilton’s 11. Spiliotes had three saves for the Ephs.

With the conclusion of their season, the women graduate four seniors: Anne Longobardo ’14, Emily Pavlini ’14, Jablonski and Spiliotes.