WILLIAMSTOWN,MA- The Williams College Ephs (11-4) bounced back from a early Bowdoin (11-4) goal to down the Polar Bears 3-2 to advance to the NESCAC semifinals when Libby Dolan notched the game-winner at 66:46.
The Polar Bears got off to an early lead in the first half, catching the Ephs off-guard with an unassisted goal by Abby Bashaw at 1:56. The Ephs defense came alive to push back the Polar Bears and turn the ball over to their offense. Dolan broke through the Bowdoin defense at 6:29 with a one-on-one shot with goalie Maddie Ferrucci but her shot hit the pad of Ferrucci and bounced back out into the circle. A foul on the Polar Bears gave the Ephs a penalty corner at 6:32, but they were unable to convert.
The Ephs kept control offensively, putting pressure on the Polar Bear defense with two more penalty corners at 10:15 and 12:10 with a shot just wide of the goal by senior Meredith Wright at 12:51. Bowdoin recovered the ball around the 20th minute and rallied a couple of shots, but Eph goalkeep Emma Santucci saved both shots at 20:01 and 20:12.
After a midfield battle for the ball, Dolan broke away with no defenders in front of her and went one-on-one with Ferrucci and after a swift swing both Dolan and Ferrucci fell to the ground as the ball hit the back of the net to tie the game 1-1 at 23:07.
The Polar Bears rallied quickly for a shot by Elizabeth Growney at 23:37 but Santucci turned her away. The Ephs threatened with two more penalty corners at 29:24 and 32:52 but the only shot by Wright went wide at 29:50.
At the half, junior Abby Lloyd took over in the goalbox for the Ephs. Santucci had 4 saves on the day and allowed one goal. Ferrucci had one save and allowed one goal at the half.
The Ephs came into the second half battling a tough Polar Bear defense and would not get a penalty corner until 43:43. Sophomore Claire Fitzpatrick took the pass from junior Emma Ticknor and but her shot was turned away by Ferrucci at 44:14. Ticknor collected the rebound for another shot at 44:18 but the ball was cleared by Ferrucci again.
Another Eph penalty corner at 49:39 produced a pass from junior Isabel Perry to Ticknor who slotted the ball in the corner of the goal to put the Ephs up 2-1.
Play continued back and forth, both teams fighting for dominance. The Polar Bears threatened after the 60th minute with two shots by Growney at 62:32 and 64:02 but Lloyd blocked both attempts. Growney finally broke through at 65:01 and scored off a pass from Emma Stevens to tie the game at two.
The Eph offense rallied quickly and moved the ball down the field on the stick of Ticknor. Ticknor made a crossing pass to Dolan who sunk the ball into the back of the net at 66:46 to put the Ephs up 3-2.
As the final 3;14 ticked down, the Ephs secured the comeback win that advanced them past Bowdoin into the NESCAC Tournament semifinal round next weekend to be played at Middlebury.
Eph head coach Alix Barrele noted, "That first goal put us back on our heels, but we responded well and controlled offensively after that which was huge. We had to fight through a tough Bowdoin defense, and Libby Dolan finished big for us. Marissa Feller was rock solid for us on defense and stepped up to the ball. We're excited to see what's ahead for our team."
The Ephs next matchup will be against Tufts in Middlebury, Vermont at 1:30pm on Nov. 3.