Field hockey (10-6, 6-4 in the NESCAC) faced off against long-time rival, Amherst on Saturday in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. Despite a late goal in the second half that tied the game up at one apiece, No. 4 Amherst defeated No. 5 Williams 2-1 in overtime play.
Williams had a strong start to the game as it produced offensive pressure, connected on passes and possessed the ball for the majority of the half. The Ephs outshot the Jeffs in the first 35 minutes seven to four, but did not connect with the back of the net on their scoring opportunities.
After the halftime break, Amherst started to pick up the pace, generating three shots on goal within the first five minutes – one of which resulted in a goal. Off of a penalty corner at 39:11, Caroline Fiore fed Sara Culhane with a pass, who shot through the Williams defense and past Margaret Draper ’18, tallying the first goal of the game.
The Amherst pressure did not let up. Between the 56th and 58th minute marks, the Jeffs had five shots on goal, all of which were denied by Draper. After this burst of offensive chances by Amherst, Williams took a timeout to disrupt the momentum. This timeout proved to be successful as it refocused the women and helped them get back on track to get the ball in Amherst’s end.
At 59:56, Williams received a penalty corner where Hannah Goodrick ’18 inserted the ball to tri-captain Annie VanWagenen ’16. VanWagenen received the pass at the top of the circle and blasted a shot past Jeff goalie Emily Horwitz to tie the game at one.
The tied score pushed the game into overtime, where Amherst capitalized at 72:57. Inside the circle, Sara Culhane got possession of the ball and sent the ball on net. Draper made the initial save, but Culhane picked up the rebound and found the back of the net to earn Amherst a spot in the next round of NESCACs.
“Although it is certainly not easy to lose in ovetime to Amherst, I have to say that I am incredibly proud of the way we played,” tri-captain Emma Grauberger ’16 said. “We really dominated the first half and had some great scoring oppotunities. One of Amherst’s defenders had the best defensive save I have ever seen on one of [VanWagenen’s] shots, which had a huge impact on the outcome of the game. I think we had some of our best play of the season that game. Most importantly, we played really well together, which has been one of our major goals all season. A loss is really never fun, especially when it means the end of our athletics careers as seniors. That said, I’m happy to look back on that game as a really great performance.”
Williams had four penalty corners and nine shots on goal to Amherst’s seven corners and 14 shots on goal. Draper had 12 saves for the Ephs and Horwitz had eight for the Jeffs.
Prior to the NESCAC tournament, the women had their last regular season game of the fall against Middlebury last Wednesday, falling 4-1.
The first half proved very successful for the Panthers. Although Williams came off to a strong start, generating two penalty corners and a shot within the first three minutes, Middlebury would soon dominate the play, scoring all four goals in the first half.
The Panther scoring opened at 12:16. Off of a Middlebury corner by Caroline Knapp, Pam Schulman received the ball and passed it off to Shannon Hutteman. Hutteman took a shot, elevating the ball above the Williams defense and towards Molly Freeman. Freeman, who was standing closer to the cage lifted her stick above her head, timed the speed of the ball flying towards her and one-time spiked the ball into the back of the net.
At the 20:37 mark, the Panthers struck again. After Annie Leonard’s first shot of the play was blocked by Draper, Grace Jennings collected the rebound and pushed it back to Leonard for her second attempt. This time, her shot was successful, as it connected with the back of the net, giving Leonard her 16th goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later, at 22:22, Middlebury scored its third goal of the game. Jennings contributed another assist as she sent the ball several feel off the ground towards Bridget Instrum, who one-timed the ball out of the air, directing it past Draper, and putting the score at 3-0.
While Middlebury carried most of the momentum throughout the first half, Williams had a hopeful offensive chance at 24:49 after it earned a penalty stroke from a defensive error off of a corner. Goodrick took the stroke, where she successfully shot the ball past Panther goalie, Emily Miller, but the goal was disallowed due to an offensive foul. At 26:37, Middlebury would once again bring the ball down to the Williams half and Leonard would find the back of the net for her second goal. The game went to half with the Panthers up 4-0.
In the second half, Williams picked up its pace and had more control over the game. The Ephs prevented the Panthers from scoring for the entire 35 minutes and even collected a goal. At the 63:37 mark, the Ephs received a corner where Goodrick sent the ball to VanWagenen at the top of the circle. VanWagenen passed to her left to Katie Gallop ’17, who collected the ball and blasted a shot towards the net. Rachel Brissette ’17, who was positioned closer to the cage, redirected Gallop’s shot past Miller. The game ended with a 4-1 win for Middlebury.
With the conclusion of their season, the women graduate Grauberger, VanWagenen, Claire Swingle ’16, and tri-captain Kara Sperry ’16.