LOUISTOWN, ME – In a close game filled with back-and-forth scoring, the Williams College women's lacrosse team was defeated by the Bates College Bobcats 13-11. The Bobcats were coming off their on-conference win over St. Joseph's College on Monday, while the Ephs had built up a two-game win streak prior to this game.
"Overall it was a really good game, a close back and forth," stated head coach Alice Lee. "We came out a little flat in the second half and opened up some runs for Bates, but I felt like the girls played hard and battled all the way."
Even with the wind playing with the team's passes, the teams were even in turnovers. Bates was able to pick up more ground balls than the Ephs. Williams' superior draw control skills gave the team the upper hand in the first half, though Bates spent most of the second in the Ephs' zone, forcing Williams goalie Kami Cisneros to weather shot after shot.
While Cisneros made nine total saves, Bates goalie Eliza Statile made ten saves of her own. Two players on the field made four goals apiece: Williams' Claire Fitzpatrick and Bates' Katie Allard.
The Bobcats claimed the opening possession of the game, but in attempting to clear the ball turned it over to the Ephs. Suzanna Penikis '19 took advantage of Bates' mistake, scoring an unassisted goal just a minute and thirty-seven seconds into the game. Bobcat Lila Hutchins responded with her own goal, pulling Bates even with Williams.
This became a recurring theme for most of the game – neither team able to pull very far ahead of the other. Williams determinedly held onto the lead for the entire first quarter, with Kailie Saudek making the next goal for the Ephs and putting her team on top once again.
Kathryn Grennon of the Bobcats returned to the Ephs side of the field to score, tying the game at 2-2. When four free position attempts did not lead to any scoring, senior Emma TenBarge rebounded off of a free position to score unassisted, putting Williams' nose in front again. But Grennon returned to the Ephs' side of the field and scored, tying up the game at 2-2
The unlucky streak of free position shots did not last for long: Fitzpatrick was able to successfully convert for the Ephs' first free position goal of the game shortly after Bates' last goal. Bobcat head coach Brett Allen, sensing Williams' momentum, called a time-out. It clearly had an effect on Bates, as shortly after, Bobcat Summer Dias broke the Bobcat's 11-minute scoring drought with her 20th goal of the season.
As Fitzpatrick put up Williams' second successful free position shot of the game, Bates became determined to close the two-point gap. Margaret Smith, assisted by Allard, put up one for the Bobcats. She was followed by Grennon, who scored on a feed from Smith to even the score at 5-5.
Sophia Milay of Williams scored and edged the Ephs back in front, setting the score at 6-5. With just over a minute left, Megan Halloran scored with a bounce shot, bringing Williams back up to a two-goal lead at the half.
The second half was much more fortunate for Bates. Right off the bat, they were able to score three times in a row – once in a man-up situation – and the third goal by Smith assisted by MacMullen put Bates in the lead for the first time that game. They did not hold it for long, however, as Fitzpatrick, assisted by Wollmers, tied the game back up at 8-8.
Bates finally took their first free position shot of the match with 20 minutes left in the game, and while it was a miss, they were able to capitalize on a Williams turnover to keep themselves on the offense for most of the rest of the game. MacMullen netted one for Bates, assisted by Dana Swartz, and was answered by Fitzpatrick, assisted by Penikis. But the Bobcat's most successful run of the game followed, as Swartz and Allard collectively put up three to give Bates the largest lead of the game for either team at 12-9.
Hope was not lost for Williams, as first-year Mason Yonge scored an unassisted goal with two minutes left on the clock. Allard responded, scoring one assisted by Smith. Even though Bates was up 13-10, Williams put in the last goal of the game, as TenBarge bagged one more assisted by Saudek before the final klaxon sounded. Even so, the Ephs were defeated 13-11 by the Bobcats.
Still ever-hopeful, coach Lee mused: "I'm really optimistic with where we're at as a team. I know that we have a lot of firepower and potential. If we can minimize those mental mistakes, I'm optimistic about what we'll look like in our next game."
The Ephs will play at Pomona-Pitzer next Tuesday, March 26th, at 7:00 pm PDT.