KEENE, NH. — Junior Rachel Brissette scored twice and Kara Sperry once Tuesday night while goalkeeper Margaret Draper finished with five saves as the Williams College field hockey team opened its 2015 campaign with a 3-1 road victory.
The Ephs (1-0) are at Trinity Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest.
"I thought it was a great start to the season, particularly the way we had to respond with some mental toughness at the end of the first half and in the second half while it was 2-1," Ephs' head coach Alix Barrale said. "I think we got physically fatigued, Keene is a very fast team that likes to run, but we responded well to that fatigue."
Brissette opened the scoring just 2:01 into the contest when she banged home a rebound off an early penalty corner for a 1-0 lead. Just over 10 minutes later, Kit Rosen won a ball in the Owls' third and pushed a pass to the end line where sophomore Julianne Kostas picked it up, made a nice move around one Owl defender and then slipped a pass by the Keene State goalie and through the crease to an unmarked Sperry, who one-timed it into the empty net for a 2-0 lead.
At that point the Owls began to have the better of the play, forcing Draper to make to beautiful saves to keep the home team off the scoreboard, one a sliding, stacked pad save and another a diving blocker stop.
Still with 12:32 remaining in the half, Erica Stauffer scored for the Owls off an assist from Sam Smith and it was 2-1. The Owls continued to put Williams on its collective heels for the rest of the half, earning three late penalty corners, including one with no time on the clock. The Ephs thwarted that attempt to head into the locker room with a one-goal lead.
"I thought that was big for us, stopping them on that penalty corner," Barrale said. "I was happy to see we weren't nervous in that situation, we showed a lot of composure."
Williams outshot Keene 17-9 in the first half, forcing Owl keeper Meaghan Dwyer to record 14 saves. Draper made all five of her saves in the first half. The Ephd tightened up defensively in the second half and allowed Keene only three shots on net while creating 11 chances on their own.
Brissette made those chances pay off when she scored her second unassisted tally of the night with just 5:49 in the game for a two-goal advantage.
"We really regained our cpmosure in the second half," Barrale said. "I think this should be a big confidence builder for us. We had a lot of people play and contribute to the win, even if they were on the field for just a short time. And that's what we will need, on any given day someone new will have to step up and contribute."