WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Williams College head field hockey coach Alix Barrale begins her 19th year Williams with seven players returning that started at least 14 games for the Ephs in 2017. Overall 18 players return.
A year ago the Ephs opened the season as one of seven New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) teams ranked in the top twenty and went on to post a 6-4 NESCAC record and tied for third with Hamilton. The Ephs posted a cumulative record of 12-5.
The Ephs did suffer some key losses to graduation in Alex Bennett (F), Hannah Goodrick (MF), Julianna Kostas (F) and Priya Sivalingam (D) all of whom started at least 15 games, accounting for 20 of the team's 49 goals and 24 of the team's 44 assists.
Seeded third in the 2017 NESCAC Tournament the Ephs defeated arch rival Amherst 4-2 in the Quarterfinal Round behind three goals from First Team All-American Alex Bennett and one goal by Meredith Wright, avenging a 3-2 regular season loss
The 2017 season ended in a 3-2 OT loss to Trinity in the NESCAC Semifinals in Hartford, ironically that is where the 2017 season began with the Ephs topping Trinity 3-2 in OT.
Despite a 12-5 overall record and a demanding schedule the Ephs were not invited to play in the NCAA Tournament.
The goals for 2018 include winning the Little Three, winning the NESCAC Tournament, and returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
"Our depth is one of our greatest strengths this year," stated Barrale. "With 18 returning players we can kind of pick up where we left off last season. They understand our system and had success with our new formation. We look to build on that and create a healthy learning environment for our new players.
"Our team chemistry is off the charts," added Barrale. "Our players are extremely supportive of each other. They are really fun to be around. I love that they have a strong sense of humor and can be goofy at times yet they know when to "flip the switch" and focus intently on the task at hand. They do not shy away from hard work and rise up to every challenge we put before them."
|Meredith Wright '19|
Barrale has last season's top goal scorer back in senior forward Libby Dolan to focus her offensive attack around. Dolan netted 17 goals, including five game-winners and assisted on five goals for a total of 39 points last fall. Meredith Wright another senior forward, tallied seven goals and registered five assists (19 points) last fall and classmate Julia Cochran scored two goals and assisted on two for six points in 2017.
That senior trio is talented and experienced as both Wright and Dolan started all 17 games last season, while Cochran started 15.
"Simone Veale, Molly Lohss, Calla Khilnani, and Payton Donato each have the ability to make an impact on offense this season," Barrale noted. "We are excited to have sophomore Claire Fitzpatrick (lacrosse) join the ranks. Her competitive drive and pure athleticism will certainly be an added force up front. Hazel Ethier is a first year who is quickly adjusting her play to the collegiate level and she has a bright future on the forward line."
Behind the forwards in the midfield Barrale has a number of options with several experienced returning players. Junior Isabel Perry played in 16 games last fall solely in the midfield, tallying two goals and assisting on two more. There are four additional returnees who played in a minimum of 14 games last season with experience gained in the midfield and up front or on defense. Molly Lohss played in 15 games at forward and in the midfield scoring three goals and adding two assists.
|Emma Ticknor '20|
Juniors Emma Ticknor, Marissa Feller and Nina McGowan all saw significant time in the midfield and elsewhere. Ticknor recorded two assists in 17 games and Feller started all 17 games last fall, while classmate Nina McGowan played 11 games.
"First years Siobhan Morrissey and Elizabeth Welch have great potential in the midfield and will most likely see minutes this fall," said Barrale. They have impressed with their speed, quickness, and strong stick handling.
"We are excited to have Charlotte Cooper back from an injury that kept her on the sidelines the entire 2017 season," stated Barrale. "She saw significant minutes as a first year in 2016 and started in several games. Sarah McLaughlin a senior defender who is a hard worker and a smart defender is also ready to resume playing."
Barrale also welcomes back two experienced goalkeepers in senior Emma Santucci and junior Abby Lloyd. Santucci started 14 games in 2017 and posted a 7-0-0 record in 474 minutes in goal. She stopped 19 of 26 shots (.731) for a goals against average of 1.03.
|Isabel Perry '20|
Lloyd played 749 minutes appearing in all 17 games and she posted a 5-5-0 record. She turned aside 51 of 74 shots (.689) and owned a 2.15 goals against average. Sophomore Olivia Dulany will backup Santucci and Lloyd.
The Eph goalkeeper tandem allowed but 1.72 goals a game, while the Ephs netted 49 goals for an average of 2.80 per game.
"We are excited to have all three goalkeepers back this season," Barrale said. Santucci and Lloyd will be the backbone of our defense. Each have an incredible understanding of the game, strong communication skills, and the ability to make crucial saves when the pressure in on."
The Ephs will open the 2018 season on the road in a neutral site game vs. St. John Fisher College at 6:00 p.m. on Sept. 4 on the campus of Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. The first home game will be Sept. 8 at 12:00 p.m. when they host Trinity in a NESCAC encounter.