WILLIAMSTOWN, MA- The #16 ranked Williams College Ephs (8-3, NESCAC 6-2) pushed through double overtime and a penalty shootout to edge the #9 ranked Bowdoin College Polar Bears (10-3, NESCAC 5-3). After going through a scoreless second half and two overtimes, first year Kate Gregory slotted a goal in the last penalty shot for the Ephs to win the match 2-1.
The game began with a battle for possession between the Ephs and the Polar Bears. The Ephs gained dominance early though, with quick penalty corners at 5:56 and 8:22 but were unable to convert. The Polar Bears gained momentum for a moment, with Elizabeth Growney knocking a hard shot at the goal which Eph keeper Emma Santucci blocked off her thigh.
The Ephs then took the ball down the field for their first shot of the game off the stick of sophomore Claire FItzpatrick at 13:17 that was saved by goalie Maddie Ferrucci. After a scramble the Ephs took the ball for 5 penalty corners in a row and off the 16:30 ball from junior Emma Ticknor, Fitzpatrick crossed the ball to senior Libby Dolan where she fired it for the first goal of the game at 16:53.
As the Eph offense pushed for more, Polar Bear Manveer Sandhu broke off with the ball past the Eph defense to score tie the game at 16:53. Bowdoin pushed to get the lead notching two late penalty corners and two more shots, but were fended off the Eph defense and Santucci.
At the half Abby Lloyd would take over for Santucci and would remain in for the rest of play. Santucci had 3 saves and allowed 1 goal.
The second half proved to be a stalemate in both score and opportunity as both teams pushed on penalty corners but were unable to convert. Eph junior Isabel Perry struck a hard ball toward the goal at 50:42 but was blocked by a Polar Bear defender. The Ephs had one final chance in regulation time with a buzzer penalty corner at 69:57 but were turned away by the Bowdoin defense.
The game moved into overtime, where Williams quickly pushed three penalty corners, with senior Meredith Wright striking one toward the goal but Ferrucci kicked it out at 72:05. The Polar Bears threatened with less than a minute left with a shot by Abby Bashaw at 79:07 but Lloyd made a great save to keep the game tied.
Both teams then moved into a second overtime where the Ephs quickly took dominance of the ball with a 81:12 penalty corner from sophomore Allie Weiner, and Perry took a clean shot but was blocked by Ferrucci. Bowdoin then pushed their own penalty corner at 83:30 and after a dangerous scramble a penalty stroke was awarded to Kara Finnerty. As Finnerty shot the ball to the top left of the goal, Lloyd made an incredible save at 85:15 to keep the Ephs in the game. Bowdoin would have one more penalty corner but could not find a shot. Wright threatened with a 88:27 shot, but was turned away by Ferrucci.
The game now moved into a penalty shootout. Each team had 5 players shoot in an 8 second round and the team with the most goals at the end of the lineup of players would take the winning point.
The Ephs began with Allie Weiner who moved swiftly around Ferrucci to score one for the Ephs. Bowdoin answered back with their first player Sandhu who maneuvered around Lloyd to pull her from the goal and tuck one in behind her. With the shot count now 1-1, seniors Julia Cochran, Caroline Taverna and Meredith Wright each took shots but could not score within the allotted 8 seconds. The Polar Bears would follow suit, with their next three players, Kara Finnerty, Elizabeth Bennewitz and Johna Cook unable to get past Lloyd. With the final shot, Gregory came off the bench to take the shot for the Ephs and muscled her way past Ferrucci to knock the ball in. The Polar Bears could not answer back as Elizabeth Growney's only shot was kicked away by Lloyd.
Lloyd on the day had 6 saves, all outside of regulation time, and took the win for the Ephs.
Coach Alix Barrale couldn't put into words how exciting that game was, "Abby Lloyd being a wall in the goal and stopping that penalty stroke was huge. And Kate Gregory coming in off the bench to score the winning goal was unbelievable. As a coach I can't be more proud of the team effort put into this game."
The Ephs next matchup will be away at Mt. Holyoke at 6:30pm, Tuesday the 16th.