WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Behind two second half goals, the Williams women's soccer team defeated the Colby Mules 2-1 today in its last regular season game on Cole Field. Brett Eisenhart and Lilly Wellenbach scored for the Ephs while Kate Laxson netted the Mules' only goal. With the win, the Ephs move to 10-2-1 on the year (7-1-1 NESCAC) while the Mules find themselves at 6-6-1 (2-6-1).
With her goal in today's match, Eisenhart became the all-time leading scorer in Williams women's soccer history with 41 career goals. She passes Stacey Starner's previous record of 40 goals set in 2002.
Eisenhart commented on the accomplishment after the game, "It's just a magical time with my other two seniors (Sachi Siegelman and Nicole Stenquist), and we knew this was going to be a good day and we came out firing. I was pushing personally for a goal because I wanted it, I wanted to have that memory of scoring."
After the game, Coach Michelyne Pinard talked about Eisenhart's accomplishment as well: "I think she's one of the most dynamic players we've ever had. Her ability in and around the goal – she's just a natural. She's had that impact since the day she arrived. I think [she scored] during her preseason scrimmage her freshman year and she hasn't stopped. Thankfully, I'm just glad she's on our team."
In the first half, neither team was able to find the back of the net. Williams controlled play early, but the Mules had some runs of their own towards the end of the half. Brett Eisenhart led the way for the Ephs with three shots-on-goal, all of which Colby goalie Emily Brock was able to make a play on.
The Mules came out of the break on the offensive and were the first to find a goal. In the 50th minute, Grace Dickinson lined up to take a corner from the right side. She served the ball into the box, where Eph keeper Laura Wann punched the ball out. A Mule attacker headed the ball and Wann was able to knock the ball to the ground. Laxson was there waiting, though, and kept the ball low as she kicked it into the back of the net.
The Ephs were quick to respond and tie the game up. Alison Magruder possessed the ball just inside the left sideline. She served it into the box, where Eisenhart dove towards the cross and got her head on it to finish for the Ephs. Eisenhart leads the team with ten goals this year and 21 points.
With just under ten minutes to play, the Ephs added some insurance. After Hayley Cook and Siegelman teamed up on a Mule attacker inside the box, Cook cleared the ball out. Some nice passing resulted in Stenquist possessing in the midfield. Stenquist served a through ball to Wellenbach by herself up field. Wellenbach beat both her defender and keeper Brock to the ball and finished on the ground to make it 2-1. The goal was Wellenbach's second in two games and second of the year.
Said Pinard about her first-year scorer, "Lilly's height is such a hard thing for other teams to deal with, and she can cover so much ground. We put her up top to see if she could cause some trouble, and she certainly did. She can score goals. She has a knack around the goal, too, so we thought we'd take advantage of that today by putting her up top."
Pinard also had nothing but praise for her three seniors after today's game. "From the day they arrived on campus, they have had a large impact. There are not a lot of them, but their impact is immeasurable. Each of them plays such a different role and they do it so effectively," she said. "Sachi's tenacity and quickness, Nicole's ability on the ball and ability to cover so much space and Brett's ability to finish – you just don't get a more complete class than that. What I love about them most is their passion to compete and desire to win and their willingness to work, work, and work to make that happen. I adore them, and they've had an immeasurable impact on our program."
Said Eisenhart on what this last regular season game at Cole Field meant to her, "[Cole] is the most beautiful field to play on. I've grown up here for four years [and] developed with different teams under Michelyne, and she's been a great coach," she said. "It was one of those days where all four of those years come together and all that hard work you remember that first day of preseason. You play for that day. You play for that freshman year, sophomore year, junior year here with a whole new team."
In terms of what to take away from today's game, Pinard said, "This team isn't rattled by much, and I knew they weren't [going to] be rattled by going down by one. I'm just glad we started to put things together and started to get a little bit of an attacking rhythm in the second half, and we just have to keep working on getting better every day and that's our focus."
The Ephs finish out the regular season on Wednesday at Middlebury. Start time is set for 2:00.