Williamstown, MA—Williams (8-1-4/ 3-1-4 NESCAC) was opposed by Hamilton (6-5-2/ 3-5-1 NESCAC) on Cole Field this afternoon. With the regular season drawing to a close, this match-up between the two close-seeded NESCAC teams was destined to be high intensity.
When the game began, neither team was early able to set themselves ahead. Though the Ephs had several close score attempts in the early part of the half, none were quite so successful as to put them on the board; Hamilton's defense was able to keep the home team at bay. The first 25 minutes of play passed by with neither team making it onto the board.
With 12 minutes remaining to the half, the game took a turn. When Hamilton lost possession during an offensive charge, Eph senior Mark Sisco-Tolomeo gained control of the ball. With a run that showed off strong ball-handling skills, he took play all the way upfield and junior Eric Hirsch. After Williams lost the ball out of bounds, the Continentals were given possession. Almost before an opponent could touch the ball, however, Hirsch was there. He took decisive control and went straight for the net. With the clock at 9:25, the Ephs had a 2-0 lead.
The remainder of the period played out with much excitement but no further scoring on either side. Just 13 seconds before half-time came a tense moment for the Eph players and fans. A foul had been called on Williams and the Continentals took possession. The Hamilton kick was looking dangerous, but senior Malcolm Singleton jumped to block the ball just in time. The Ephs carried the ball a little further upfield until time was called. Their two-point lead had held through the half.
The second half opened with high intensity from both sides. Within the first minute of resumed play, Sisco-Tolomeo had taken a shot at the goal. Hamilton, as well, showed great offensive intensity, and it was clear they had come back to the field a fiercer challenge to the home team than they had left it 20 minutes earlier. Compared to 10 from the first half, the Ephs were only able to take 3 shots in this half of the game.
Most importantly, the Continentals made it onto the board in the second half. Fifteen minutes into play, Hamilton junior Bobby Chapman received a pass from sophomore Aidan Wood and shot it into the goal. The stakes of the game were suddenly much higher for Williams than they had been before.
Both teams poured a lot of energy out on the field through the game's end. Unfortunately, a number of fouls prevented the Ephs from making the offensive progression they might have otherwise. As Eph head coach Erin Sullivan said, "We were a little petulant in the second half. There were a lot of fouls that cost us some control. But that's part of the growth as a team, just learning how to close out games." Notably, Williams sophomore Liam Bardong was given a yellow card 17 minutes into the second half.
The close of this period, like that of the first, brought great opportunity for the Continentals. With just seconds on the clock, Hamilton had two corner kicks. However, despite strong play from the visiting team, Williams was able to maintain their lead through the end, and finally to win the game 2-1. "At this point in the year," said coach Sullivan, "results are critical. Given where we are in the conference, almost head to head with Hamilton for points, this was really important. It puts us in a good position to attack up the table."
This Saturday, October 21, the Eph's will be facing off against Tufts at 2:00. The Sullivan stated, "All of these teams are tough, and I don't think there are any easy match-ups. Going into Saturday's game, we're excited to recognize our seniors and continue to play on the home field."