Ephs Top Tufts 11-6 to Advance to NESCAC Semi-Finals
Williamstown, MA—the Williams College women's lacrosse team defeated the Tufts University Jumbos 11-6 in the first round of NESCAC tournament play when Ali Piltch recorded six saves in the second half to hold the Jumbos to one goal for the half.
Though the Jumbos were the first to get on the board with a goal from Lindsay Walker over six minutes into play, the Ephs would capture a 7-4 lead at the end of the first half. Following over six more minutes of scoreless play, Rebecca Bell fired in the first goal for the Ephs at 17:13. The Jumbos answered back on a free position goal by Caroline Ross to take the lead before the Ephs quickly tied the game once more on a free position shot.
The Ephs gained possession on their attacking end, passing around until Bridget Malicki caught a feed from Anne Rehfuss in the center of the eight-meter, dodged two defenders, and netted the shot to give the Ephs the lead for the first time in the contest at the 13:29 mark. After swapping possession several times with the Jumbos, Alyssa Amos fired in a shot just in front of the crease to give the Ephs a two-goal lead.
Over the next four minute of play each team was able to tally an additional goal, including a second goal for Amos. With 4:21 remaining in the half, Jenna Chodos received a feed in the center from Maeve Mulholland and netted a sixth goal for the Ephs to establish a three-goal lead. Following a yellow card on the Ephs, Walker netted another goal for the Jumbos on a free position shot. Williams proceeded to win the draw control and transfer the ball to their attacking end as Rebecca McGovern charged to the net to convert an unassisted goal to regain a three-goal lead moving into the half. The Jumbos regained possessing of the ball, but a save by Piltch prevented the Jumbos from scoring before the half ran out.
The Second half began with over ten minutes of scoreless play during much of which the Jumbos maintained possession of the ball at their attacking end. Tufts had a series of failed shot attempts and drew several fouls on their attacking end to earn free position shots, but Piltch had several impressive saves to hold off the Jumbos from scoring. Caroline Ross finally converted a goal off a pass from Walker for the Jumbos at the 19:33 mark.
The Ephs regained possession scored four unanswered goals, the first of which happened when Nancy Palmer streaked in front of the goal to score just a minute later. McGovern capitalized on a free position shot, her third goal of the day, before the Ephs put in two more goals on man-up situations.
The Jumbos earned back the ball following a failed clear attempt by Williams, and Walker netted her third goal of the game for the Jumbos with 5:43 remaining in the contest. The Ephs attempted to hold onto the ball for the remaining minutes of the game while the Jumbos pressured hard throughout the field. Williams stalled the ball until the clock ran out with an 11-6 victory for the Ephs.
Williams head coach Chris Mason commented on the team's improvement over last game. She said, "I thought that we possessed the ball better and moved the ball better, and we had better patience. We have our moments where we rush things a little, but we were getting the center draw, which was huge." She thought the game was once again "a good team effort." Coach Mason elaborated to say, "Ali had a great game in goal and defense played well. Offensively I think we had some pretty quick players doing a good job and getting some good shots off."
The Ephs ability to control the ball reflected the team's thirteen draw controls over Tufts' six draw controls. The Ephs also led in shots, though by a narrow margin of twenty-seven to twenty-three. Walker led the Jumbos with three goals for the game. McGovern led the Ephs with three goals and both Malicki and Amos tallied two goals. Rachel Gilmore recorded six saves for the Jumbos while Piltch ended the game with ten saves for the Ephs.
The Ephs will move on to the semi-final round of NESCAC tournament play when they face Amherst College next Saturday, May 3rd.