In its NESCAC season opener, tri-captain Annie VanWagenen ’16 recorded a hat-trick to lift field hockey (2-0, 1-0 in the NESCAC) past No. 14 Trinity last Saturday. Eph goalie Margaret Draper ’17 also had an impressive game, saving all 13 shots that the Bantams sent her way.
After a scoreless first half, VanWagenen netted her first goal of the game with an assist from Brigid Bruno ’17 at 4:32 into the second half. This gave the Ephs some momentum that later translated into more scoring opportunities.
The Ephs received a corner at the 53:31 mark, when Hannah Goodrick ’18 sent the ball to VanWagenen, who then rifled a shot from the top of the circle past the Bantams goalie. Less than four minutes later, VanWagenen notched her third goal of the game with an unassisted tally on a beautiful shot off the crossbar.
With pressure to score late in the game, the Bantams created many scoring chances, with four of their 13 total shots on goal occurring in the last eight minutes of the game. Even as time ran out, the game continued as the Bantams still had two corner opportunities. Draper had a beautiful save on the first shot and the game came to an end as Trinity’s shot went wide on the second corner attempt. Denying all of the Bantams shots, Draper recorded her first shutout of the season.
The women notched their first win of the season earlier in the week, facing off against Keene State. Rachel Brissette ’17 scored twice and tri-captain Kara Sperry ’16 once to power the Ephs to a 3-1 victory over the Owls.
Brissette opened the scoring just 2:01 into the contest when she banged home a rebound off an early penalty corner for a 1-0 lead. Just over 10 minutes later, Kit Rosen ’17 won a ball in the Owls’ third and pushed a pass to the end line where Julianne Kostas ’18 picked it up, made a nice move around one Owl defender and then slipped a pass by the Keene State goalie. The ball went through the crease to an unmarked Sperry, who one-timed it into the empty net for a 2-0 lead.
At that point the Owls began to have the better of the play, forcing Draper to make two beautiful saves to keep the home team off the scoreboard, one a sliding, stacked pad save and another a diving blocker stop.
With 12:32 remaining in the half, Erica Stauffer scored for the Owls off an assist from Sam Smith and the score was 2-1. The Owls continued to put the Ephs on its collective heels for the rest of the half, earning three late penalty corners, including one with no time on the clock. The Ephs thwarted that attempt to head into the locker room with a one-goal lead.
Williams outshot Keene 17-9 in the first half, forcing Keene keeper Meaghan Dwyer to record 14 saves. Draper made all five of her saves in the first half. The Ephs tightened up defensively in the second half and allowed Keene only three shots on net while creating 11 chances on their own.
Brissette made those chances pay off when she scored her second unassisted tally of the night with just 5:49 in the game for a two-goal advantage.
“I am always cautious about setting expectations, but I think the rest of the NESCAC can expect big things from us this year,” Sperry said. “The cohesiveness of our team is the best I have ever seen and I think that has been the leading contributor to our success so far. We are starting out the season with two huge wins, one which was over Trinity, who knocked us out during the post season last year. As a team, we are holding ourselves to very high standards so I am excited to see where that can take us.”
Field hockey has its home opener tonight, taking on Mt. Holyoke at 6:30 p.m.