WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – In a back-and-forth battle that took extra time to decide, Middlebury College (14-1/9-1 NESCAC) defeated Williams College (5-10/2-8 NESCAC) by a score of 10-9.
Eph first year Emma Tenbarge tied up the score at 9 all with a free position goal scored with 45 seconds remaining in the game. The Williams defense held its own to send the game into overtime. Each team had two possessions during the three-minute period of overtime, with Middlebury ultimately prevailing when Bridget Instrum scored with 1:09 remaining.
Williams won possession of the first draw control and junior Katie Gallop took the ball down field to take the first shot of the game. However, Middlebury would recover possession and, following a successful clear attempt, the Panthers would attempt a free position shot. Eph goalkeeper Margaret Draper made a phenomenal save to give the ball back to the Ephs. At the opposite end of the field, senior Anne Rehfuss found classmate Natalie Gill cutting and fed her for the first goal of the game at 25:19. Williams had the lead at 1-0.
After a pair of breakaways, one from Rehfuss and one from Instrum, the Panthers would tie the game again at two apiece. Despite initial Eph possession on the following draw control, Middlebury once again headed down field to take their first lead of the game when Megan Griffin scored unassisted.
Following an Eph timeout, Rehfuss gained possession of the draw control. Williams was in control on offense for several minutes making several good cuts, however, a shot wide would give the ball back to the Panthers. An errant Middlebury pass gave the ball back to the Ephs and sophomore Kat Fearey brought the ball up the field. Fearey found Maddalone who fired a keen pass to Dussel to tie the game back up, 3-3.
The Ephs were gaining momentum again and would score again shortly after when Tenbarge converted on a free position attempt to give the Ephs the lead back, 4-3, with 14:50 left, forcing Middlebury to call a timeout. The Panthers returned from the timeout with fire of their own to win the ensuing draw control which led to another goal from Griffin.
Williams would score two more goals in the last ten minutes in the half including a brilliant bounce-shot from Rehfuss. The Ephs showed poise on defense as they held Middlebury to just four goals in the first 30 minutes. Halftime began with a score of 6-4, in favor of Williams.
The second half began with two quick Middlebury goals from Alli Sciarretta tying the score at six all. The Panthers went down a man when Chrissy Ritter received a yellow card. Williams regained the lead when Rehfuss found Tenbarge who scored on a nice, bouncing shot. However, Middlebury would quickly respond and the game was once again tied.
Eph goalie Margaret Draper made a key save on a Middlebury free position attempt to put the Ephs back in scoring position. Following a Panther timeout, sophomore Jenny Roach raced the ball up field and passed it off to Dussel who found Gill from behind the goal giving Williams an 8-7 advantage.
Middlebury would counter and score two more goals to take a 9-8 lead heading into the last two minutes of regulation. A Middlebury turnover at 1:36 gave the Ephs the chance to tie it up and that's what they did. Tenbarge successfully converted a free position attempt with 45 seconds left to tie the game at nine all. Middlebury would win the following draw control, however, a stunning save from Draper with 16 seconds to play held the game at 9-9 to send the Ephs and the Panthers into overtime.
Three minutes of sudden death began with a Tenbarge draw control giving the Ephs the first offensive chance. However, a quick turnover gave Middlebury a shot to win the game. On a huge play, Rehfuss regained possession for the Ephs who made a final push to secure the golden goal. Middlebury fought hard to force a turnover. They then drove down the field to score the winning goal with 1:09 \ left in the overtime period.
After the Ephs' hard fought effort, Williams head coach Chris Mason said she was extremely proud of her team. "I'm very pleased with how the team played. So impressed with how they never gave up on the season when we didn't quite have it all together. They kept working to improve and do all the little things right and great credit goes to the seniors who just kept encouraging and pushing everyone."
The Ephs were led by Tenbarge who had four goals. Rehfuss contributed one goal and two assists and Gill had two goals. Draper played all 60 minutes in goal and made five saves.
Middlebury was led by Instrum with three goals. Griffin and Laurel Pascal each added two for the Panthers. Goalkeeper Katie Mandigo played all 60 minutes in goal and made three saves.
Mason's Ephs will play at least one more game this season as they were the beneficiaries of the three-team NESCAC tiebreaking procedure for the eighth seed in the NESCAC Tournament.
The Ephs' name was pulled out of a hat that also contained the names of Bowdoin and Wesleyan and so the Ephs will travel to Hartford, CT on Saturday to play top seeded Trinity at 12:00 p.m.