On Saturday, women’s soccer (15–0–1, 9–0–1 in the NESCAC) defeated rival Hamilton in the first round of the NESCAC tournament.
Although the Continentals’ mission of upsetting the second-ranked team in the country got off to a good start, they wound up giving up four goals, first by Natalie Turner-Wyatt ’19 and Kristi Kirshe ’17 in the first half and then by Danielle Sim ’18 and Alison Lu ’20 in the second.
“Despite starting out a bit slow, we were really happy with the way we stuck things out and we were happy to come away with the win,” co-captain Tressa Palcheck ’17 said.
Despite the fact that the Ephs ended up with four goals on the board, the Continentals looked to be the better side and had the better chances in the early-goings, opening the scoring on a well-taken chance by Katja Dunlap.
The goal came from the scraps of a corner that Katie Kreider sent in from the right. The Eph defenders’ initial attempt at a clearance did not quite take the ball away from the danger area, ending up at the feet of Amanda Becker. As all the Ephs converged on the junior forward, she coolly picked out Dunlap to her left, and with only Olivia Barnhill ’19 left to beat in goal, Dunlap slotted her shot under the keeper’s arms.
With their strong play rewarded, the Continentals looked to build on their lead from there, but the Ephs quickly came to life and began to engineer a turnaround, resulting in Turner-Wyatt leveling the score just seven minutes after the visitors’ goal.
Also originating from a corner, Natasha Albaneze ’18 delivered a powerful cross into the box, which was initially repelled by a Continental defender; however, the attempted clearance fell to Turner-Wyatt on the edge of the 18-yard-box. The sophomore decided to take the shot herself, chipping it into the corner of the goal.
Riding the momentum of their equalizer, the Ephs wasted little time in taking the lead less than three minutes after Turner-Wyatt’s goal.
Sarah Sciré ’20 led the Ephs in a counterattack after taking the ball off a Continental midfielder. Sciré looked to pick out the energetic run of her strike partner, co-captain Audrey Thomas ’17, but a Continental defender deflected Sciré’s through ball away from the path of Thomas. However, in the process of doing so, she put it directly into the stride of Kirshe, who thump ed a shot past Dumont, her record-tying 42nd career goal for the Ephs.
The Continentals emerged from halftime trying to recreate their early first-half dominance, but the Ephs’ depth and rotation began to take its toll, as the Ephs put their third goal of the game on the scoresheet in the 53rd minute.
Again from a corner, Albaneze fired a cross into the heart of the penalty area toward Sim, whose positioning was better than that of her defender’s, latching onto the end of her fellow junior’s cross and powering her header over Dumont’s arms for her first goal of the year.
Lu finished off the scoring with her 11th goal of the season 18 minutes later. Lu started the move that led to the goal, bending in a cross toward the back post from the right flank. No one got on the other end of it, however, and Kirshe was forced to run down the cross before it trickled over the end line. She then sent the ball back into the box, toward the opposite post, where Lu was waiting to put the Ephs’ fourth goal of the day over Dumont’s line.
Permitting few chances to the Continentals to nick a goal back in the final quarter of an hour, the Ephs used their experience to shut down the game, and lock in their place in next Saturday’s NESCAC Semifinal round against Trinity, which they will host as they are the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Tournament.
Williams kept its unbeaten season alive with its 10th win in-a-row, and will play Trinity next Saturday in the NESCAC semifinals.