Field hockey impresses with 3-0 start

Annie VanWagenen ’16 collected 10 shots and one goal for the Ephs in their two victories over Keene State and Trinity.
Annie VanWagenen ’16 collected 10 shots and one goal for the Ephs in their two victories over Keene State and Trinity.

Field hockey (3-0, 2-0 in the NESCAC) continued to come up on top this week. The women’s winning streak remained unbroken on Saturday, with their impressive comeback 2-1 win over the Trinity. The Ephs have been waiting seven years for a victory over the tenacious Bantams. On Sept. 9, the women also dispatched Keane State with a 1-0 victory.

Against the Bantams, it was Annie VanWagenen ’16 and co-captain Caitlin Conlon ’15 who dominated offensively for the Ephs. Although the team struggled in the first half to control possession, Conlon and VanWagenen worked well together to create scoring opportunities on corners. The Ephs’ execution on corners was on point with Conlon doing all of the inserts and VanWagenen striking the ball well, but they failed to capitalize on these opportunities in the first half.

With less than 10 minutes to go in the first half, the Bantams smacked in a shot to make the score 1-0. The Ephs knew they had to come out stronger in the second half, as they were outshot five to two and did not control the possession.

The tide completely turned for the Ephs in the second half. They started the half ready to play with their immediate run for a goal resulting in a corner. Conlon pushed a perfect ball to VanWagenen, who glided it past the goalie to the far post at 37:12, tying the game at 1-1. This burst of adrenaline led to a second goal shortly after at 27:06 by Rachel Brissette ’17. Brigid Bruno ’17 maintained the possession after an attempt on goal by Alex Bennett ’18. Bruno then passed the ball to Brissette who shot it into the far post, making the score 2-1.

Williams’ defensive efforts definitely did not go unnoticed throughout the game. Trinity’s relentless pressure did not make their jobs any easier as well. However, Annie Rojas ’15, Emma Grauberger ’16 and Katie Gallop ’17 did a great job of preventing opportunities in the circle and shutting down the wings with block tackles. The Ephs had to really work for their win and their determination to succeed was evident through their happy celebrations at the close of the game.

“Our goal is to host a playoff game, and Saturday’s comeback win makes us only more confident we can achieve that,” Conlon said.

In an exciting game on Sept. 9, the women trampled over Keene State in a 1-0 victory. After losing to the Owls 4-1 last season, the Ephs were determined to get the very first win on the brand new Williamson Field. In an aggressive back and forth game between the two teams, it was Bennett who slid one between the Owls’ goalie’s legs for the sole goal with only 5:46 remaining in the game. The Ephs dominated the Owls in all sense of the word, outshooting their opponents 23 to zero. Grauberger had the lone assist for the Ephs, while VanWagenen led the Ephs in shooting with six shots. The victory marked a large step in the right direction for the women, as Keene State was ranked ranked fifth in the New England West region and received votes to be in the top twenty of the NFHCA Coaches poll prior to the game.

The Ephs are off to a tremendous start and making their goals come true one game at a time. They will play their first away game today at Mount Holyoke at 7 p.m. On Saturday, the women hit the road again to take on archrival Amherst at 11 a.m. Next Tuesday, Williams will face Smith at 7 p.m.

With the victories, the Ephs have entered the top twenty of the NFHCA Coaches poll, ranked as No. 18 in the nation. The women join four other NESCAC opponents in the top 20: Bowdoin, Tufts, Amherst and Middlebury.