Field hockey (1-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC) started off its season strong with a 3-2 victory over Colby last Saturday. Due to final stage preparations at the new Weston Field Complex, the women’s home opener had to be moved to Smith. However, that did not affect the women’s intensity or excitement at the start of their season. Their relentless attitudes in the second half were proof that the Ephs are ready to dominate the NESCAC.
After ending the 2013-14 season with a 6-9 record, the Ephs are hopeful for a winning record this season. Three of their losses last year were in one-goal games, which played a major factor in determining the balance of the Ephs’ win-loss record. The core of the team this season comes from the senior class, which includes co-captains Caitlin Conlon ’15 and Annie Rojas ’15, Jaclyn Porfilio ’15 and Haley Ladd-Luthringshauser ’15.
Conlon led the team with 18 points last season and also scored a team-high eight goals. Both Conlon and Ladd-Luthringshauser are expected to control the Ephs’ offense this year. Luckily, the Ephs are also returning talented players Abigale Belcrest ’16, Emma Grauberger ’16, Katie Gallop ’17 and Kit Rosen ’17. With Rojas and Porfilio leading the defense, the Ephs have dedicated and experienced leaders who are very optimistic for the start of their season.
“We are a very skilled team with a lot of depth, and I think more importantly, we are really dedicated to this season and motivated to reach our greatest potential,” Rojas said. “We know we can compete with the best teams out there and we’re working hard to be prepared for those challenges.”
The women faced their first challenge in Colby and redeemed themselves on Saturday after an unfortunate loss last season. The 3-2 win was a testament to what the team has to offer this year. Williams outshot Colby 31 to 12 over the entirety of the game. The Ephs’ offensive hustle did not let up in the second half as they collected 22 shots on net compared to only four shots from the Mules.
Colby’s strong start to the game with an early goal in the first few minutes did not scare Williams away. Rosen’s strong presence and constant energy in the midfield throughout the first half helped the Ephs stay in the game, but the women headed to the half down 1-0.
Penalty corners were a major factor for the Ephs in the second half. Williams outnumbered Colby 15 to 2 in these for the entire game with an overwhelming 9-to-1 margin in the second half. The Ephs’ first goal was due to a tremendous effort on a corner that led Rachel Brissette ’17 to score off a rebound at 43:41, tying the game at 1-1. Colby came right back and scored just 10 minutes later, however, boosting the Mules into a 2-1 lead.
New goalie Margaret Draper ’17 had an impressive first game for the Ephs, recording five saves. The regular subbing of fresh legs boosted the team’s energy and led to a powerful shot from Alex Bennett ’18, which eventually led to another goal for the Ephs with only 6:02 left in the game. With the game tied at 2-2, this positive momentum led to another goal from Claire Swingle ’16 with just 2:11 remaining in the game to secure a 3-2 opening win for the Ephs. This exciting first game is a positive sign for a successful season.
“We have a lot of depth this season and our performance against Colby reflected the hard work everyone put in during preseason,” Conlon said.
The women played yesterday against Keene State but results came in too late to report. This weekend the women take on Trinity at home on Saturday at noon.