Ephs upset Polar Bears in opener

Molly Belk ’16 contributed to the women’s thrilling 12-8 victory over No. 8 Bowdoin last Saturday.
Molly Belk ’16 contributed to the women’s thrilling 12-8 victory over No. 8 Bowdoin last Saturday.

Due to the ongoing renovations to Weston Field, women’s lacrosse (1-0 overall, 1-0 in the NESCAC) opened its season against Bowdoin on Saturday at McGuirk Stadium located at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Despite playing in unfamiliar territory, the Ephs looked right at home as they defeated the Polar Bears 12-8 in a thrilling game against a formidable squad that is ranked No. 8 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Poll.

Tri-captain Rebecca McGovern ’14 netted the first goal of the season to put the Ephs up 1-0 with 27:36 to go in the first half. The two teams battled the remainder of the half, matching each other goal for goal until they found themselves tied at 3-3. After Bowdoin scored to make the score 4-3 in its favor, the women caught fire, scoring three consecutive goals that included a forceful shot in front of the goal by Stephanie Gallo ’14. The Ephs regained the moment going into halftime with a 6-4 lead.

The Polar Bears opened the second half with an early goal to pull within two of the Ephs. Midfielder McGovern responded by once again displaying her offensive talent, scoring two consecutive goals, one of them on a free position shot. Down 8-5, Bowdoin continued to fight back, scoring back-to-back goals and shrinking Williams’ lead to one. On the ensuing Bowdoin possession, goalie and tri-captain Ali Piltch ’14 preserved the lead on a tremendous save that provided the spark the Williams offense needed. Alyssa Amos ’15 netted her second goal of the game to put Williams up 9-7 with 10:24 left after Molly Belk ’16 helped transition the ball upfield. Just a minute later, Becca Bell ’15 zipped an impressive shot past the Bowdoin goaltender to make the score 10-7.

Bowdoin did not go down without a fight, scoring a goal with 7:23 left in an attempt to spark a late comeback. That comeback was thwarted by two unassisted goals scored by McGovern and Amos in the closing minutes of the game. Piltch secured the 12-8 victory with her sixth and final save of the game in the final minute after Bowdoin pulled their goalie and attempted a final offensive surge. After the save, Williams regained possession and ran out the clock to give Head Coach Chris Mason her first win of the 2014 season.

McGovern led the Ephs in scoring with five goals. She also tied for the team lead in assists with Bridget Malicki ’15 and Nancy Palmer ’15, all of whom racked up an assist in the victory. Amos, Piltch and Grace Wilson ’14 all collected three ground balls each. Piltch also had seven saves.

“One of our biggest strengths as a team is how much fun we have playing together and I think that was very apparent in our game against Bowdoin,” McGovern said. “We just really enjoyed getting the chance to play such a good team in an exciting game.”

Sunday’s game against Castleton was postponed for a later date. The women will take the field again tonight when they travel to play Springfield at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Williams will take  on Trinity.