WILLIAMSTOWN, MA- The Willams College Ephs (13-3) toppled the Bates Bobcats (10-6) in the NESCAC tournament quarter-finals to advance to the semi-final round of the tournament next weekend. After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, three different Ephs rallied to score and put the Ephs up 3-1.
In the first quarter, the Bobcats gained possession quickly, notching a penalty corner in the first minute. Ashton Bayle took the corner and passed to Paige Cote who shot at the goal, but was blocked by an Eph defender (1:07). After strong back and forth play in the midfield, Bates notched another penalty corner at 10:11. Alexa Jurgeleit took the corner, and after the pass was sent out Grace Fitzgerald took a shot but was kept away by the Eph defense (10:18). The Bobcats gained one more penalty corner in the half, and the pass came from Fitzgerald this time. Fitzgerald hit Cote at the top of the circle and repositioned herself near the net, taking a pass back from Cote and sliding the ball past Eph Keeper Abby Lloyd '20 to put the Bobcats up 1-0 (13:41).
Into the second quarter, both squads kept the defensive pressure on. The Ephs broke through with a penalty corner at 22:01, but the resounding shot from Elizabeth Welch '22 was blocked by a Bobcat defender (22:07). Welch's shot was the only offensive play of the quarter and the score remained 1-0 for the Bobcats heading into halftime.
The Eph offense came out firing in the third quarter, notching a penalty corner at 32:22. Emily Batchelor's pass found Simone Veale '21 at the top of the circle, but her shot was blocked by the Bobcat defense (32:28). The Ephs had another opportunity with two back to back penalty corners at 35:07 and 35:35, and the pass in from Batchelor turned into a scramble in the middle of the circle. Emma Ticknor '20 came up with the ball and shot the ball just wide of the net (35:44). The Ephs kept the offensive pressure on and notched another corner at 36:02, and Veale made a hard shot from the top of the box that was just knocked aside by Bobcat keeper Grace Biddle (36:19). The Ephs weren't finished yet, notching yet another corner immediately and another shot from Ticknor that was pushed out by Biddle (36:28).
The Ephs pushed for one more corner at 38:19, and the pieces all fell into place. Batchelor passed the ball out to Ticknor at the top of the circle, and Ticknor moved the ball in closer to the net before making a pass back to Batchelor who sent the ball past Biddle to even the score at 1-1 (38:59).
The Ephs looked to extend their lead with a shot by Ticknor, but a nice save by keeper Biddle kept the Ephs at bay (42:40). The Ephs had one more opportunity in the quarter with a corner at 44:52 but were unable to convert for a shot on goal.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Ephs didn't miss a beat, notching another corner at 45:56. After the initial pass in, Batchelor found herself with possession and shot the ball just wide of the net past a diving Biddle (46:41). But the Ephs were undeterred and Veale forced her way into the circle and found teammate Catherine Torres '23 who sent a hard shot into the back of the net to put the Ephs up 2-1.
With the lead securely in their hands, the Ephs pushed for more. In their final penalty corner of the game, the Ephs fired two consecutive shots by Welch and Batchelor before Veale collected the rebound and sent the ball past the stick of Biddle to confirm the Eph victory at 3-1 (55:55).
"That was the tale of two halves for us really. Bates started out on fire and caught us on our heels but we really battled back. The second half is really indicative of who we are as a team and how we play. We were able to really get the job done, I really commend our ability to focus in the last quarter to secure the win." - Coach Barrale
With the win, the Ephs move into the semi-final of the NESCAC tournament and Bates finishes their season 10-6.
The NESCAC semifinal schedule is to be announced.