WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College Ephs (8-4; NESCAC 4-3) faced the Bowdoin College Polar Bears (9-2; NESCAC 5-2) in an important late season conference matchup. After a hard-fought game by two very good teams, Williams ended up beating Bowdoin 2-1.
As expected from two strong teams, the game started out at a stalemate. In the first 15 minutes, each team had a few opportunities, but strong defense on both sides didn't allow for any goals. Bowdoin had a few very good looks, mostly due to having multiple penalty corners. They had four in the first 20 minutes, and on each of them they had a shot on goal. Ephs goalie Margaret Draper saved each shot, keeping the score even. Draper stayed busy the whole half, saving 11 shots in the first half alone. Williams also kept the Bowdoin defense busy, but they were only able to get one shot on goal, from sophomore Libby Dolan.
Despite the best efforts of the Williams defense, Bowdoin received a penalty shot at 27:46. First year Kara Finnerty stepped up and converted on a top-right corner shot to give the Polar Bears a 1-0 lead.
The second half started very differently from the first half. The first ten minutes was almost entirely played within the middle of the field, with possession changing constantly. However, at 45:34, the Ephs broke through. On a penalty corner, Williams methodically worked their way around the Bowdoin defense before passing it right in front of the goal to Meredith Wright. She shot it slightly wide of the goal, but Rachel Brissette was there to redirect it into the goal. Even with fairly limited opportunities, Williams found themselves tied at 1 and back in the game.
The Ephs took advantage of their newfound momentum with another goal shortly thereafter. At 52:21, in a similar play to the last goal, the ball was entered into the middle of the circle, a shot was taken, and then the ball was tipped into the goal. This time, it was Brissette to Wright. The goal brought Williams into their first lead of the day.
Williams kept up the pressure after their two quick goals, making it very difficult for the Polar Bears to move the ball back towards the Williams goal. Once the clock started winding down, Williams successfully kept the ball away from their goal, and finished the game off. The win was a great result against the No. 2 team in the nation. In addition, this was the Ephs' first win in Williamstown against Bowdoin since 2006.
"This game was clearly the best we had played all season" said Williams coach Alix Barrale. "We really put it all together today, and we played with a competitive edge that we hadn't had in other games. We knew that we had to be almost perfect playing against the number two team in the nation, and we executed our game plan well."
Williams finished the game with 4 shots on goal and 5 penalty corners, as opposed to Bowdoin's 15 shots on goal and 8 penalty corners. Margaret Draper had 13 saves, while Bowdoin goalie Clara Belitz had 2.
It was Williams first win over Bowdoin since Septepmber 23, 2006.
The Ephs will visit Tufts next Saturday, October 22, for their last regular season away game of the season.