The postseason began for women’s lacrosse (12-3, 7-3 in the NESCAC) on Saturday, when it faced off against Tufts in the first round. After going on a 10-game win streak that landed them in the top 10 nationally, the women lost their final two regular season games to Amherst and Middlebury. They entered the tournament looking to gain back their former momentum and make a run in the conference tournament, and the Ephs got off to a good start as they defeated the Jumbos 11-6 to advance to the second round.
The women entered the game feeling confident, as they were seeded higher and had defeated Tufts 10-5 on April 2. The Jumbos got on the board first with an early goal from midfielder Lindsey Walker to take a 1-0 lead. After more than six minutes of scoreless play, Becca Bell ’15 fired in the first goal for the Ephs at 17:13. The Jumbos answered with a goal three minutes later to regain the lead, but tri-captain Rebecca McGovern ’14 tied the game at 2-2 off a free position shot. A scoring onslaught with goals from Bell, Bridget Malicki ’15, Jenna Chodos ’17 and Alyssa Amos ’15 helped the Ephs take hold of a commanding 6-4 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the half. McGovern added another goal minutes later to send the Ephs into halftime with a three-goal advantage.
The second half began with 10 minutes of scoreless play. Both defenses held strong and prevented either offense from capitalizing on any scoring opportunities. Eph goalie and tri-captain Ali Piltch ’14 made several impressive saves to keep the Jumbos from cutting into the lead. She finished the game with 10 saves. Tufts’ Caroline Ross brought the score to 7-5 with the first goal of the second half at the 19:33 minute mark. The Ephs then went on to score four unanswered goals from Nancy Palmer ’15, McGovern, Stephanie Gallo ’14 and Malicki, respectively, to bring the score to 11-5 and put the game out of reach. Malicki’s goal came when she took a pass from Maeve Mulholland ’15 and zipped a goal into the net to give the women their eleventh and final goal of the day. It was an auspicious start to the Ephs’ run at a conference title. The defense stepped up to hold a talented Tufts squad to a mere six goals.
“We’re all so excited to have made it this far, especially as it’s the farthest we have made it in the last four years,” McGovern said. “We’re going to make the most of it for sure.”
Last Wednesday, the women fell to Middlebury 12-4 in their final regular season game. Middlebury scored five unanswered goals within the first 10 minutes of play and extended their lead to a 9-1 margin by the end of the first half.
The second half of play began with Middlebury carrying its momentum from the first half. The Panthers were patient on offense and maintained possession effectively, drawing several fouls from the restive Ephs. Middlebury netted two goals from free position opportunities before the women finally responded as Bell scored her second goal of the day after a pass from McGovern. Down nine goals, the Ephs failed to mount a significant comeback in the second half as the Panthers continued to exercise dominant ball control and movement.
With the quarterfinal win against the Jumbos, the women advance to the NESCAC semifinals to play the rival Jeffs, who ended the Ephs’ 10-game winning streak just a few weeks ago. Amherst comes into the game undefeated this season and ranked No. 2 in the nation. The game will be played in Hartford, Conn. on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.