WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Alix Barrale's 2016 Williams College field hockey team (10-6/5-5 NESCAC) fresh off an upset of second seeded Trinity, 4-2, in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament last Saturday will now face top –seeded and host Tufts (14-2/8-2 NESCAC) in Medford, Mass. at 11 a.m. this Saturday in the NESCAC semifinals.
Third seeded Hamilton will play fourth seeded Middlebury at 1:30 p.m. and the two Saturday winners will play for the NESCAC title at noon on Sulnday also at Tufts. The NESCAC Semifinals and Finals will be carried live online by NSN Sports.
Seeded seventh Barrale's Ephs went to Hartford and pinned a 4-2 loss on the Trinity Bantams by blanking Trinity in the second half. Last Saturday was the Ephs' second win over Trinity this season. The reward for the win at Trinity is playing a Tufts team that is ranked fourth nationally. By virtue of their 4-2 win over Trinity Williams moved up two spots in the national poll from 20th to 18th.
Seven NESCAC teams are ranked in the top twenty national Penn Moto/NFHCA poll.
The all-time Tufts-Williams series began in Medford with a 0-0 tie in 1984. Tufts leads the all-time series vs. Williams 21-16-8. The Ephs are in search of their first win over Tufts in Medford since 2002 (1-0).
On October 22 Tufts downed Williams 3-2 in a rain-delayed contest in Medford. Tufts opened up a 2-0 lead before the Ephs' Meredith Wright scored early in the second half. The Jumbos' Mary Kate Patton answered the Wright tally with a goal in the 52nd minute that proved to be the game-winner as Wright scored again for the Ephs in the 56th minute.
On the day Tufts had five shots on goal and the Ephs had three.
"We started out "flat" in the first half vs. Tufts last month and found ourselves in a tough situation down by two goals," stated Barrale. "The second half was a completely different game," Barrale added. "We controlled possession and created more offensive opportunities and capitalized twice in the circle. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to walk away with a win even though we held Tufts to five shots on goal and four corners. We just weren't strong enough on our defensive corners. "
All-time in the NESCAC Tournament the Ephs sport a record of 17-12 and they have won three titles with the last coming in 2004 when Williams, the third seed, won at Middlebury. Tufts' all-time in the NESCAC Tournament boasts a record of 15-13 and they won their lone NESCAC title in 2009.
"We need to start off playing with a sense of urgency and not let Tufts dictate play...especially in our defensive end.," offered Barrale. "We need to work hard to be first to every ball and hustle for everything. f we show up it's going to be a heck of a game!"
Barrale is also hoping that staying the night before the game in Boston will be a plus for her team. "I definitely think staying in Boston the night before will give us a better chance of being sharp and ready and not foggy from a 3-hour bus ride."
Barrale closed her comments by saying, "The beauty of this team is we are truly a balanced team with everyone contributing. We depend on each other to elevate the game and when we work together we can succeed."