MEDFORD, MA – In their second to last regular season game, the Williams College field hockey team (9-5; NESCAC 5-4) faced off against the Tufts University Jumbos (12-2; NESCAC 7-2). Despite Williams coming off of a huge win against Bowdoin last weekend, they were unable to edge the Jumbos, falling 3-2.
Tufts came out strong to start the first half, controlling much of the play and testing the Williams defense. Just over 6 minutes into the game, the Jumbos' offensive pressure led to their first corner of the half. Off of the penalty corner, the ball was inserted to the top of the circle, where Celia Lewis was positioned. Lewis passed the ball off to her left, which gave Erin Sanders enough time to stop the ball, wind up and shoot before the Williams defense could get a block. Her shot was sent to the bottom left corner of the cage notching the first goal of the game at 6:28.
Much of the play following this goal was not threatening towards either team. There was a lot of action in the middle of the field and ball possession continuously switched back and forth between Williams and Tufts.
Towards the end of the half, however, Tufts increased their intensity and were looking for another goal. With less than 4 minutes remaining in the half, Tufts hard work on offensive resulted in a penalty corner. After capitalizing on their first corner, the Jumbos were looking to do it again and changed up the play to throw something new at the Williams defense. This time, the ball was inserted to the top right side of the circle and was passed up to top of the circle, landing on the stick of senior, Nicole Arata. Arata fired a shot towards the net, but it was blocked by a Williams' defender. Mary Travers of Tufts picked up the loose rebound on the right side of the field deep in the circle and quickly sent a shot to the far left side of the net. The ball snuck through the Ephs defense and past Draper to give Tufts a 2-0 lead.
At the end of the half, Williams did not have a shot on goal nor a penalty corner and Tufts had 3 of each. While it had been raining for much of the first half, it picked up significantly during halftime, resulting in a long delay due to poor field conditions.
After the lengthy break, Williams had a strong push to try and make a comeback. Williams possessed the ball in Tufts' half, which allowed first year, Charlotte Cooper to release a hard shot near the top of the circle. Sophomore, Meredith Wright was positioned in close to the cage and got a piece of the shot, tipping the ball up and over Jumbos goalie, Emily Polinski at 45:11.
A few minutes later, Tufts responded with a goal off a penalty stroke. When the Tufts offense carried the ball into the circle and got a shot off, Draper made the initial save, but Mary Kate Patton was held up in the circle by a Williams defender, resulting in a penalty stoke. Patton took the shot just inside the post, sneaking behind Draper and bringing the game to 3-1.
Williams was not deterred by the 2-goal deficit and fought hard until the end of the game. At the 55:53 mark, the Ephs struck again with another goal by Meredith Wright. With a beautiful feed into the circle from senior, Rachel Brissette, Wright collected the ball and shot to the far right side of the cage making it 3-2.
Despite their second half offensive force, Williams was unable to bring the game into overtime, giving Tufts the 3-2 win. Margaret Draper had 2 saves for the Ephs and Emily Polinski had 1 for Tufts. The game concluded with 3 shots on goal and 1 penalty corner for Williams and 5 shots on goal and 4 penalty corners for Tufts.
"We had a great second half performance," said Williams' head coach, Alix Barrale. "We stepped up our tempo on offense and were moving much better to the ball. This was a competitive game that will help us improve moving forward."
Williams will play their final regular season game against Middlebury at Williamson Field this Tuesday, October 25th at 6:30pm.