Ephs advance to NESCAC finals in 4-2 defeat of Tufts

Ephs advance to NESCAC finals in 4-2 defeat of Tufts

Box Score

Williams-Tufts Photo Gallery

Middlebury-Amherst Photo Gallery

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA. – The last time the Williams women’s soccer team faced off against the Tufts Jumbos on October 24, 2009, the two squads played eighty-six minutes of scoreless soccer under heavy rain before Ephs forward Brianna Wolfson scored a controversial late goal to preserve the top-ranked team’s undefeated season. 

Today, playing in unseasonably sunny and relatively warm conditions for November soccer on Cole Field, Williams mounted a 3-0 lead in the first twenty-five minutes of play to advance to the NESCAC finals for the third consecutive season with a 4-2 defeat of Tufts. 

Tufts finishes its season with an 8-7-1 overall record, and a 4-4-1 conference mark. Williams ups their overall record to 16-0-0, and 9-0-0 in the NESCAC.

“We were excited to play Tufts again,” said Williams’ head coach Michelyne Pinard.  “The result of our last game felt like a tie more than a win, and so we were glad to have a second shot at them.”

Williams midfielder Sara Wild scored two of the Ephs first three goals, tallying her first score at the 10:55 mark.  Wild adeptly dribbled around her defender outside the 18-yard box to find space to let off a shot.  She nailed a shot right to Tufts keeper, Kate Minnehan.  Minnehan got a touch on the ball, but bobbled the save and allowed the ball to get past her into the net for the early Williams lead. 

Ephs defender Kara Duggan scored the second goal of the game in her signature goal-scoring style.  Tyler Rainer assisted on the play after collecting a corner kick from the far post, and playing a cross towards net.  Duggan headed the ball for the two-goal advantage.  Wild rounded out the Ephs early scoring at the 22:19 mark, capitalizing on a foul in front of net.  She laced a ball to the bottom left corner for the 3-0 lead.

Tufts would not go down without a fight, and narrowed the lead just one minute later.  With the Ephs defenders preventing the Jumbos from getting any shots off close to net, Alix Michael took a shot from far out that was perfectly placed above a leaping Ephs keeper for the visiting team’s first goal of the game. 

Tufts got within one goal of the Ephs after scoring early in the second half.  Sara Nolet used her 6-foot frame to head a cross into the back left corner to bring the score to 3-2.  The two goals by Tufts were the most goals allowed on Cole Field in the 2009 season.     

“It is pretty unusual to score three goals against Tufts in the first twenty-five minutes,” continued Pinard.  “We felt we had a comfortable lead, but Tufts is too good of a team for us to take our foot off the gas.”

Less than five minutes later, at 52:29, Tyler Rainer scored the Ephs fourth goal for a more comfortable lead.  Off a pass from Brett Eisenhart, Rainer quickly dribbled outside and away from her defender and placed a ball that curved perfectly to the top left corner for the 4-2 lead.

Lauren Sinnenberg recorded 6 saves in the win, while Minnehan tallied 7 saves in the Jumbos’ loss. 

Williams will face off against Middlebury tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. This is the fourth time in tournament history that the Ephs have appeared in the finals, having played in 2004, 2007, and 2008. They have won the championship in their previous three appearances. 

“I feel like the four teams in the NESCAC semifinals are four of the best teams in the country,” said Pinard.  “We are looking forward to playing Middlebury tomorrow, and with the talent level of both teams, it should be an unbelievable game.”

 CLICK HERE to watch NESCAC Championship game on Sunday at 12:00 PM