Ephs down MIT with late goal in 3-2 OT thriller

Kristi Kirshe ’17 mounted 14 shots, one goal and two assists for Ephs against Trinity and MIT last weekend at Cole Field.
Kristi Kirshe ’17 mounted 14 shots, one goal and two assists for Ephs against Trinity and MIT last weekend at Cole Field.

Women’s soccer (4-0, 2-0 in the NESCAC) had another successful weekend, netting late to beat MIT in double overtime on Sunday after blowing out Trinity with a 5-0 thrashing on Saturday.

The Ephs took on the Engineers in a fast-paced, end-to-end matchup on Sunday afternoon and emerged victorious after Audrey Thomas ’17 scored in the 109th minute to carry the team to a 3-2 win.

Just a few minutes into the game, the Ephs had their first scoring opportunity, as Crystal Lewin ’16 sent a ball into the MIT box. However, Thomas’ touch was too heavy, and the MIT goalkeeper came off her line to thwart the move. Kristi Kirshe ’17 had a chance on a volley in the 11th minute, but skewed the shot.

Thomas put the Ephs ahead in the 25th minute. Kirshe picked apart the Engineers defense, slotting a ball through to Thomas, who finished first time to give the Ephs a 1-0 advantage. MIT responded well to the goal and had a few chances of its own, forcing goalie Hannah Van Wetter ’15 into action on multiple occasions. However, no more goals were scored, and the half ended with the Ephs holding a 1-0 lead.

Just two minutes into the second half, the Engineers found an equalizer. Zara Perumal latched onto an incisive cross and had time to take a touch before finishing neatly past Van Wetter to knot the score at 1-1.

In the 61st minute, the women took the lead again. Thomas led the attack, driving down the left flank and whipping a cross in to Kirshe. Instead of shooting herself, Kirshe laid the ball off to Katie Wardlaw ’17, who tapped the ball into the back of the net and gave the Ephs a 2-1 advantage.

Once again, however, MIT found an equalizer. Driving down the right side of the Ephs defense, where they had found success all afternoon, the Engineers mounted another attack. A cross found Ashley Peter, who sent a rocket into the top left corner while Van Wetter could only watch. Minutes later, an MIT shot hit off the woodwork as the women were spared defeat by Van Wetter’s crossbar.

Regulation ended with the score level at 2-2. In the first overtime period, the Ephs launched attack after attack. Just past the midway point of the first half of extra time, a corner fell to Maddie Swarr ’17, but her shot was deflected at the last second and bounced harmlessly wide of the goal. In the 98th minute, Thomas found herself one-on-one with the Engineers keeper but saw her shot saved.

Between the 102nd and 106th minute, the Ephs fired eight shots at the Engineers goal, but none of them found the back of the net. In the 109th minute, however, one did. Mai Mitsuyama ’16 lofted a ball over the MIT defense, and Thomas stuck out her foot to send the ball into the goal and give the women a 3-2 victory.

“[MIT is] a great team and I am pleased with our perseverance and ability to get the result,” Head Coach Michelyne Pinard said. “I was pleased to see us play with that kind of urgency and confidence in the overtime periods. I am glad to know that is in there and now the challenge is to see that for 90 minutes.”

Kirshe led the women in shots, taking 11 of Williams’ 29. Van Wetter made three saves.

Against NESCAC foe Trinity on Saturday, the women looked impressive, earning a 5-0 win in the rain. The Bantams had the first real chance of the game, when Karyn Barrett’s left-footed chip clipped the top of Van Wetter’s crossbar before bouncing out of play. That chance, along with a few substitutions in the 27th minute, injected some pace and energy into the Ephs’ game.

In the 35th minute, Danielle Sim ’18 notched her first collegiate goal, running on to a clinical through ball and finishing past Trinity goalkeeper Monica DiFiori to give the women a 1-0 lead. Four minutes later, Hanna Kaeser ’18 scored her first goal in a Williams jersey, slotting the ball home after Sim had flicked on a cross. The women led 2-0 at the half.

Before 15 minutes were played in the second half, the Ephs had opened up a four-goal advantage. Thomas scored in the 57th minute, smashing the ball past DiFiori after latching on to a through ball from tri-captain Hana Tomozawa ’15. Kirshe hit the fourth goal of the game in the 60th minute, heading the ball into the back of the net off a cross from Wardlaw and putting the Ephs’ lead at 4-0.

In the 76th minute, Gabby Suarez ’17 had an opportunity to give the Ephs another goal, but blasted her shot over the bar. Five minutes later, Natasha Albaneze ’18 gave the women their fifth and final goal of the afternoon. Lindsey Vandergrift ’16 found Albaneze after a scuffle in the penalty area, and Albaneze made no mistake in tucking the ball into the back of the net and making the score 5-0.

A promising sign for the Ephs was that the five goals came from five different players, all of whom are first-years or sophomores. Five different players also notched assists. Van Wetter made three saves on the day.

“We played two great teams this weekend and the games looked completely different,” Pinard said. “That’s the beauty of soccer, that any given day the game and potential result can look so different even if you play the same level team. This weekend is a good reminder that we can make things easier on ourselves when we finish our early chances that we create, and playing urgently yet composed is when we’re at our best.”

This weekend, the women will hit the road for the first time this season. They take on Amherst on Saturday at noon and play Castleton at noon on Sunday.

“The Amherst game will be a great battle and a great level of soccer and competitiveness will be on display,” Pinard said. “There is nothing like playing Amherst early in the season. That will show you what you’re all about. I’m looking forward to seeing what this team is capable of.”