Women’s lacrosse loses to No. 1 Trinity in quarters

Emily Gerber ’15 served as a fundamental component of the Ephs’ defense, which enabled the women to remain within one against Trinity last Saturday.
Emily Gerber ’15 served as a fundamental component of the Ephs’ defense, which enabled the women to remain within one against Trinity last Saturday.

Women’s lacrosse (7-8, 3-8 in the NESCAC) ended its season last weekend, barely falling to No. 1 Trinity in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament on Saturday. The women also lost to Middlebury last Wednesday by a score of 13-11. Five consecutive goals from the Bantams late in the competitive game decided the contest on Saturdyay, with a Clare Lyne’s tally at 14:49 proving to be the game winner. In what was a high-scoring first half performance for both teams, Trinity opened the game’s scoring at 28:49. After exchanging turnovers, Trinity scored again before Nancy Palmer ’15 put Williams within one off an assist from tri-captain Bridget Malicki ’15. After Trinity gathered a 3-1 lead, Hillary Cook ’15 forced Trinity goaltender to forfeit the ball, and subsequently rifled the ball into an empty net. Cook’s relentless, aggressive defense appeared to ignite the Ephs, who scored five of the game’s next seven goals to take a 7-5 lead by halftime. Of the five goals, Malicki figured in three. Both goalkeepers, Williams’ Margaret Draper ’17 and Trinity’s Zoe Ferguson, were brilliant in the first 30 minutes of play, combining for nine saves.

Draper’s stop with 1:32 remaining in the first period was the most acrobatic, as she slid across the crease and used her foot to stymie the chance. After two outstanding stops by Draper at the beginning of the second half, Malicki extended the Ephs’ lead to three at 26:38, converting on a free-position attempt. After receiving a pass from tri-captain Maeve Mulholland ’15 at the center of the arc, Palmer blistered a shot into the back of the net to give the Ephs a 9-5 advantage. Palmer converted again at 21:49, this time via Anne Rehfuss ’16, extending the Ephs’ lead to 10-6 with 20 minutes left to play. Despite the efforts of Draper and the Ephs’ defense, the Bantams began to attack the Ephs, living up to their status as the nation’s top-ranked team. Trinity produced the game’s next five goals to take a 11-10 lead. Up by one with 15 minutes remaining, Ferguson was called upon to make several quality saves, and she answered. Mahaney Sippel ’15, Molly Belk ’16 and Emily Gerber ’15 provided unyielding defense, keeping the Ephs within one as time wound down on their season.

The defensive combo limited Tewaaraton Finalist Martha Griffin to one goal, which she converted with 21 minutes to play in regulation. After exchanging possessions threefold, Malicki fired a sharp-angled shot with one minute remaining in the contest, but the attempt was blocked by Fergusonand Trinity won 11-10. Malicki, who had two goals and three assists, and Palmer, who notched four goals, led the way for Williams in the quarterfinal playoff matchup. In net, Margaret Draper managed eight saves and Ferguson fashioned seven. Last Wednesday, 11 saves from Draper and three goals from Cook were not enough to propel the Ephs to a win in their final regular season game against the Panthers. Following a back-and-forth first period, the Panthers notched five second half goals en route to a 13-11 victory. Much like the Ephs’ previous NESCAC contest against the Mules, the first half was highlighted by both teams’ offensive prowess. Middlebury’s Bridget Instrum opened the first half’s scoring just 17 seconds after the initial draw. Following a second-consecutive Middlebury goal, Draper fashioned several acrobatic saves to keep the women within two. The three-sport goaltender’s play appeared to spark the Ephs, who netted six goals before the 10-minute mark to make the score 6-5. After collecting a 7-5 lead on Cook’s free-position shot at 9:45, the Ephs did not find the back of the net for the remainder of the half. The Panthers dominated possession for the final six minutes of the period, hurling upwards of 10 quality chances toward Draper. Despite Draper’s heroics, Middlebury netted three goals, taking an 8-7 lead into the dressing room. In the second half, both the Ephs and Panthers demonstrated lengthy, patient possessions, which only occasionally resulted in goals. After consecutive saves by Draper, Middlebury’s Katie Ritter snuck the ball into the net at 26:21. Cook quickly avenged Ritter’s goal, running end to end in a Marshawn Lynch-esque manner before beating the Middlebury goaltender with a goal. While the Ephs collected two more goals from Natalie Gill ’16 and tri-captain Becca Bell ’15 before the 10-minute mark, each was immediately rebutted by Panther tallies.

After taking a three-goal lead with six minutes to play, Middlebury did its best to control the ball, but was pressed by Williams defenders Belk, Sippel and Gerber. The defenders’ relentless efforts resulted in a turnover and fast-break opportunity for the Ephs, which Belk blasted into the goal at 3:42 to make the score 13-11 in favor of the Panthers. Middlebury controlled the ensuing draw and retained possession until the final whistle. “The NESCAC is a really competitive league and we gave the number one seed, Trinity, a really good game,” Bell said. “Every player stepped up their game on Saturday and we played really solid team defense to keep out some of the best attackers we’ve seen all season. We are really pleased with how we played but are sad to see the season end. This is a really unique team with a lot of talented players and amazing team chemistry.” The Ephs say goodbye to seniors Malicki, Gerber, Cook, Sippel, Palmer, Mullholland and Alyssa Amos ’15, who will graduate this spring from the College with fond memories of the team.The class boasts a 35-29 record with one NCAA Div. III Tournament appearance in 2014. The Ephs top five scorers this season were all members of the senior class, with Malicki leading the pack with an impressive 54 points.