Williamstown, MA - The Williams College Ephs (11-4, NESCAC 7-3) defeated the Middlebury College Panthers (14-1, NESCAC 9-1) 4-2, with Emma Ticknor leading the Ephs with three goals in the first half.
Middlebury had the first opportunity of the game when Grace Jennings received the ball in the middle of the circle. She slid the ball towards the right side of the net, but senior Emma Santucci dove and deflected the effort out of the circle.
The Ephs' first opportunity of the game came when first-year Elizabeth Welch found a streaking Emma Ticknor, who diced her way through the Panthers defense and got a shot on net. Her shot was deflected by the goalie but landed back at her stick. Her second effort snuck past the goalie but banged off the post and out.
The Ephs were able to strike first when sophomore Claire Fitzpatrick found senior Libby Dolan in the circle who found the back of the net (11:39). Four minutes later, junior Emma Ticknor got a goal off of the initial attempt from Claire Fitzpatrick to put the Ephs up 2-0 (15:37). After the goal, the Panthers called a timeout to regroup.
The Ephs continued their offensive prowess after the timeout. Meredith Wright dribbled down the baseline past a couple of defenders and found Emma Ticknor in the circle who tipped it past the Panthers' goalie to put the Ephs up 3-0 (18:18).
The Panthers were eager to claw their way back into this game. After a lengthy possession in the Ephs' circle, the ball got swung back to the defense. The Panthers found Erin Nicholas who drove hard into the circle and buried an on-the-run shot for the first Panther goal of the game (22:06).
The Ephs responded with a goal of their own at 28:11. Off of a penalty corner, junior Isabel Perry took the initial shot, which was saved by the goalie. After a scrum in the circle, the ball was loose, and Emma Ticknor got her third goal of the half.
The Ephs would hold their 4-1 lead until the end of the half. Junior Abby Lloyd would enter the game and take over in goal for Emma Santucci for the second half. Santucci finished the half with two saves. Middlebury's Megan Collins had one save at the half.
The first goal of the second half belonged to the Panthers, Erin Nicholas scored off of some slick passing off of a penalty corner at 57:30. Emma Johns was credited with the assist. The goal brought the score to 4-2 with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
The Panthers added some offensive pressure on the Ephs with a couple of penalty corners, but the Ephs stood tall and kept the ball out of the net and keeping the Panthers two goals away.
The rest of the game was back-and-forth between the two teams, but the Ephs held onto their 4-2 lead for the remainder contest. Abby Lloyd ended the game with five saves, and Megan Collins finished with two saves.
The last Ephs win over the Panthers was in 2009 when Ephs won 2-1 at Middlebury in a NESCAC Quarterfinal contest.
"I feel like we had a game plan and a strategy and we executed it to a T," Eph head coach Alix Barale commented after the game. "We never let up. I think that Tufts was a good game to show that when we play tough, we are excellent. I felt like in that game we played hard for one half and then we lost it. We knew we had to put 70 minutes together tonight and we did. From top-to-bottom, everybody did their job. We moved Emma Ticknor up and considering she scored three goals today; I think it worked out for us. To get a win against the best team in the nation is pretty special."
Winning this game clinched a home game in the opening game of the NESCAC tournament which will begin on Saturday.