Williamstown, MA—Williams (4-2/2-2 NESCAC) took the field against Amherst (5-1/2-1 NESCAC) under a glaring sun on Williamson Field this afternoon. The rivals were 27-18-1 in the all-time series, with Williams leading, going in. Former Eph field hockey and women's lacrosse coach, Chris Mason, who retired last spring after coaching 37 years at WiIliams was on hand with many of her former players. Mason, who coached 14 field hockey All-Americans and 34 lacrosse All-Americans is being honored this evening at a dinner on campus attended by more than 160 of her former Eph players.
When play began, Williams took control of the ball early on, forcing Amherst to play on the defensive. Within 4 minutes of the start of play, the Ephs had a corner, and a shot at scoring. The goal was a miss, but Williams players didn't have long to wait for that goal. With 29:03 on the clock, junior Libby Dolan was able to drive a shot into the net, giving the Ephs the first point of the game just over 5 minutes in.
Play continued to be competitive, but the Ephs held their early lead well. About half way through the period, Amherst called a timeout, and the team's offense picked up speed shortly afterward. At 18:13, Amherst junior Shannon Tierney took the team's first shot on goal, but Eph goalkeeper, junior Emma Santucci, saved the shot.
From this point forward, play was split quite evenly between both ends of the field. Though both teams had some scoring opportunities, a point was not netted again until the end of the half was in sight. With 5:39 left to the half, Amherst tied up the score. Junior Kendall Codey took advantage of a corner to shoot the ball into the net.
The half ended with a tied 1-1 score.
At the second half, Williams changed their goalkeeper to sophomore Abby Lloyd. She did not see any early action, however, as the Ephs immediately took the ball to the Amherst goal. After a corner shot from senior Alex Bennett was saved, her second shot on goal for the half—rapidly following the first—put them back in the lead. Assisted by junior Meredith Wright, Bennett netted the ball from the right side for a clean score.
In a pattern mimicking the game's first half, Williams maintained this one point lead until near the end of the period. With 10:49 on the clock, Amherst senior Elizabeth Turnbull took a shot after gaining ball control from a Williams foul. The two teams were now tied once again.
Though both fought hard, neither team was able to score again by the time the clock ran out.
A 15-minute overtime session ensued. The ball went back and forth across the field, with neither team showing a lead, for most of this time. With just a minute remaining in the overtime period, Amherst had a corner. Senior Caroline Feeley took the corner, passing the ball to Codey. Turnbull then scored, with Codey on the assist, winning the game for Amherst.
Eph head coach Alix Barrale said that, though the team was "obviously disappointed it didn't go our way," she felt "very proud of the effort and the fire in our belly—just that fierce competitiveness that we brought to the entire game."
She explained, "I really thought everybody was bringing their best game, and I thought that we were playing well as a unit." Still, it is important to note the excellent playing of senior midfielder Hannah Goodrick, who the coach called "an unsung hero who is making a lot of things happen," and sophomore defender Marissa Feller—players whose skill on the field is not always represented in the stats.
The coach says, "What's going to be the challenge here is: how can we bounce back from something so disappointing in such a quick period of time?" Tomorrow at 10:00AM, the Ephs will be taking the field at home once again, this time against Bates.
Post-game, Williams College received its 20th Learfield Directors' Cup in the 22-year history of the national award, which is emblematic of athletic supremacy in NCAA DIII. Joining the Eph field hockey team on the field for the presentation were Williams Athletic Director Lisa Melendy, Amber Armstrong from Learfield, and Eph alums who played for Chris Mason.