HARTFORD, CT – The #7-seeded Williams College Ephs (10-6; NESCAC 5-5) faced the #2-seeded Trinity College Bantams (12-4; NESCAC 7-3) in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. In their first meeting, played on September 10th, Williams won 4-3 after a 4-point effort by senior Rachel Brissette at Williamson Field.
Trinity started out hot with an early goal. The Bantams received a penalty corner, and after a pass in by Kelcie Finn, sophomore Allison Slowe converted from the top of the circle at 7:27. Although the defense got a stick on it, the ball unfortunately deflected over the top of goalie Margaret Draper, and settled into the back of the net.
Williams, however, responded strongly, and dominated the pace of play in the minutes after Trinity's goal. These efforts culminated during a penalty corner for Williams in the 17th minute. Mirroring the way Trinity scored their goal, junior Hannah Goodrick passed the ball to the top of the circle, where senior midfielder Katie Gallop was there to finish the play at 16:53. This evened the score at 1, and gave the momentum to the Ephs.
Immediately after the goal, however, the Bantams turned up the pressure. They had three excellent opportunities that were kept out of the goal due to great saves from Draper; however, something had to give when Trinity's offense kept getting opportunities. Indeed, at 23:39, Trinity scored again on a penalty corner. They used the same combo as before, with Finn assisting Slowe.
Williams responded, again with the goal coming on a penalty corner. Hannah Goodrick fed the ball to the top of the circle, where it was passed to Julia Cochran. Cochran shot it, but Goodrick was there to deflect it in. The goal at 28:11 leveled the game 2-2, and that tie remained going into the half, despite some late efforts by Trinity.
The second half started out slowly, however, with few opportunities to score for both teams. In a game defined by goals from penalty corners, each team knew that it would be crucial to have as many as possible. After the slow start, Williams followed that mindset, and had four penalty corners in only a few minutes. After knocking on the door for a while, the Ephs finally got the lead. At 50:56, Julia Cochran received the ball, and quickly slapped it right past the goalkeeper. In such a crucial game, a late lead often dictates how a team manages time, so Cochran's goal afforded Williams the ability to play conservatively for the rest of the game.
This strategy turned out to be the right one, as Williams managed the game effectively for the final 19 plus minutes. The Ephs used their offensive attack to keep the ball in Trinity's half of the field, and even scored once off another penalty corner, finished by Rachel Brissette. This goal further padded the lead, which gave Williams even more security in finishing off the win. In the end, the Ephs won 4-2.
Williams finished the game with 12 shots on goal and a massive 17 penalty corners in the game. Trinity, meanwhile, had 11 shots on goal and 7 penalty corners. Eph goalie Margaret Draper made 9 saves while Trinity's Lori Berger had 8 saves.
We played tough from start to finish," said elated Eph head coach Alix Barrale. "We executed our game plan well and once we got the lead we played with a 'refuse to lose' attitude. I'm so proud of our team's effort and composure."
With the win the Ephs advance to the NESCAC Semifinals to be hosted next Saturday by Tufts. The Ephs will play host Tufts, the number one seed in Medford, MA at 11 a.m. On October Tufts edged the Ephs 3-2 in Medford in a rain-soaked and weather-delayed contest.