WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Every season brings one or more gut-check games.
Sunday was one of those for the Williams College field hockey team. Less than 24 hours after falling to rival Amherst in overtime at home, the Ephs were back on Williamson Field to take on an emerging Bates College team. Consider the test passed, as junior Libby Dolan scored twice while senior Alex Bennett added two assists as the No. 12-ranked Ephs disptached the Bobcats, 3-2.
"I'm so proud of the way we bounced back from a really disheartening result yesterday," Ephs' head coach Alix Barrale said. "To see us play at a high level with a lot of heart and poise was very impressive. It was a great team effort overall, and that's the kind of season we've been having thus far; consistently playing well together as a team and as a unit."
The Ephs improved to 5-2 overall, 3-2 in the conference, while Bates fell to 3-4 overall, 1-3 in the NESCAC. Williams is at Springfield College Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. game, while the Bobcats are off until Saturday when they host Trinity at 11 a.m.
Taylor Lough and Grace Fitzgerald scored the goals for Bates. Alyssa Souza played over 50 minutes in goal for Bates and made four saves. Emma Santucci had three saves for the Ephs in the first half and picked up the win in goal. Abby Lloyd made one save over the final 35 minutes.
Williams controlled the tempo of the contest and had the better of possession, outshooting Bates 20-9 in the game and creating 11 penalty corner opportunities to the Bobcats six.
The Ephs opened the scoring 18:06 into the contest when Bennett carried possession into the circle on the right side and shot a hard pass across the goalmouth that found the stick of Dolan, who buried it into the unattended left side of the cage for her ninth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Bates tied it just 2 minutes and 31 seconds later when Lough received a pass from Jessie Moriarty with her back to the cage, turned and wristed a quick shot past Santucci.
Williams regained the lead with 6:23 left in the first half when a pair of first years got together. Midfielder Simone Veale stickhandled her way into the circle, drawing two defenders and the keepr her way before flipped a pass to her left that found Molly Lohss, and her shot ito the empty left side of the goal found its mark.
"We were really controlling the tempo and maintaining possession," Barrale said. "Those were our goals today. I really like the pressure we continued to put on their defense."
The Ephs came out in the second half and kept the pressure solidly on the visitors, creating six penalty corner situations and outshooting bates, 9-4. Williams made it 3-1 14:34 into the half when Dolan tipped a shot by Bennett into the goal. It was her conference-leading 10th goal of the season.
Fitzgerald scored for Bates as time expired, accounting for the final score.