Late rally gives Ephs thrilling 6-5 win over NESCAC rival Bates

Late rally gives Ephs thrilling 6-5 win over NESCAC rival Bates

NORTHAMPTON, MA -- Three goals in the final 2 minutes and 32 seconds Saturday lifted the Williams College women's lacrosse team past conference rival Bates, 6-5, in a game played at Smith College.

Senior Rebecca McGovern scored the game-winning goal with 51 seconds left and classmate Ali Piltch made a save of a free-position shot from Bates with 13 seconds left to secure the outcome. Williams improved to 4-1 overall, 3-1 in the conference, while the Bobcats slipped to 6-3 overall and 2-2 in NESCAC.

"I'm really thrill," Ephs' head coach Chris Mason said. "I mean, we still have a few things we need to work on, but this was a very big win for us. Our defense did a great job all game keeping us in it -- any time you can hold a NESCAC team to five goals -- and gave us a chance to come back and win."

Bates held a 3-2 halftime lead thanks in part to two goals from Kelan McCann. The Ephs tied the game 1:09 into the second half when Bridget Malicki converted a nice pass from Maeve Mulholland into a goal.

But it would be the Bobcats who regained the lead thanks in part to goalie Hannah Jeffrey, who made tough save after tough save. The Bobcats then converted free-position opportunities two minutes part by Blair Shrewsbury and Bridget Meedzan to take a 5-3 lead with 16:59 to go. 

The Bates defense and Jeffrey kept Williams off the scoreboard for the next 14 1/2 minutes, but with time winding down, senior Stephanie Gallo caused a key turnover in the Bates end. She then fed Mulholland, who beat Jeffrey low and to the left to make it 5-4 with 2:32 remaining.

After causing a Bates turnover at midfield, the Ephs were able to convert an odd-man rush into the Bates zone when Malicki fed Rebecca Bell, whose quick shot slipped past Jeffrey and tied the game with 2:14 left.

Just 1:23 later, and coming out of a Chris Mason timeout, McGovern used a screen to get herself a one-on-one chance with Jeffrey. She fired a shot over the goalie's shoulder into the top right-hand corner of the goal for a 6-5 lead.

"We just talked about creating the best opportunity you can," Mason said of the timeout. "We didn't want their to be three seconds left when we made our move either, so we just told them if you get a great opportunity, take it."

Bates won the following hard-fought draw control and, after a timeout of its own, earned a free position shot by Wally Pierce. Piltch made an outstanding save on the low shot with 13 seconds left and then ran out the clock for the Ephs' victory.

"Ali was fantastic today, the whole game," Mason said. "And our defense did a good job of pressuring their people who had the ball and not letting them make good feeds inside. We also demonstrated good footwork to deny them driving on us."

Piltch finished with nine saves. Jeffrey made 14 for the Bobcats. McCann and Meedzan each had two goals for Bates, while McGovern had two goals for Williams and Malicki two goals and an assist. 

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