WATERVILLE, ME -- The Williams women's soccer team defeated the Colby Mules (0-1/0-1 NESCAC) 2-1 today in its season opener behind a 74th minute goal from first-year Katie Wardlaw. The Ephs (1-0/1-0 NESCAC) took the early 1-0 lead with a finish from Audrey Thomas before Colby tied it up shortly before halftime with a goal from Annie Papadellis.
Just over nine minutes into the game, Thomas found the back of the net after a short breakaway for her first collegiate goal. Colby, however, countered with a goal from Papadellis in the 37th minute. She received a pass from Ruth Hawley and put it past Eph junior goalie Hannah Van Wetter. Despite outshooting the Mules by a count of 10-6 in the opening frame, the Ephs were unable to find the back of the net again before halftime.
Out of the break, both teams looked to pull away. Neither was able to finish for the majority of the half. Finally with just over 16 minutes on the clock, midfield power Mai Mitsuyama gave Wardlaw a through ball, and Wardlaw made her collegiate debut one to remember as she put the ball into the back of the net. The Ephs were able to hold Colby defensively for the rest of the game and walked off the field with the opening victory.
The Ephs outshot Colby by a total of 19-11. Van Wetter turned away two shots in goal for the Ephs in the first half, while first-year goalie Tressa Palcheck came up with three saves in the second half in her debut performance. Colby goalie Emily Brook turned away ten shots for the Mules.
She went on to comment on her team's performance in a difficult opening match. She said, "Anytime you play a NESCAC team your first game and you're five hours away in Maine, it's challenging. I'm just so proud of [the team] for playing so tough and so hard and getting the result. We wanted it. We needed it, and we got it. It wasn't always pretty for either team, but we're learning, we're getting better, and we're moving on – thankfully with the win."
The Ephs will continue their opening weekend on the road tomorrow against Wheaton. The game will take place at 12 PM.
Pinard thought her team was ready for the back-to-back action. She commented, "I think this team is as fit as it can be, so yes, we are ready. We just have to be ready for another ninety-minute battle. I think mentally we are there, and I think physically we are there, too."