Ephs advance to NESCAC finals with 2-0 win over Trinity

Ephs advance to NESCAC finals with 2-0 win over Trinity

MIDDLEBURY, VT – The Williams women's soccer team defeated the Trinity Bantams (12-4, 7-3-0 NESCAC) 2-0 today in the NESCAC semi-finals. Crystal Lewin gave the Ephs (12-2-2, 7-2-1 NESCAC) the first-half lead in the 24th minute, and Kristi Kirshe added an insurance goal in the second half. Both goals were unassisted.

In their first matchup this year, Trinity defeated the Ephs 2-0 and handed the Ephs their first of just two losses.  The only other team to beat Williams in the regular season was top-seeded Middlebury, who the Ephs will move on to play tomorrow in the NESCAC championship at 12 PM. Middlebury defeated the Tufts Jumbos 2-1 in the first semi-final game of the day.

The Ephs pushed offensively from the opening minutes. After being awarded an early corner kick, the Ephs had a nice shot from Kirshe, but Monica Difiori turned the ball away to keep the game at 0-0.  In just the ninth min ute, the Ephs had another good look at the net. First-year Audrey Thomas rocketed the ball on-cage from the top of the box, but Difiori just got a hand on it to tip it over the crosbar.

Trinity tried to shift the offensive momentum. In the 20th minute, Abbey Lake passed the ball ahead to Alex Menard, who fired on net.  Eph keeper Hannah Van Wetter calmly collected the save.

The Ephs countered and finally found the back of the net a few minutes later.  After several Eph opportunities in a row were turned away, Lewin controlled a rebound and put it back on net; her shot went past Difiori into the left side of the net to give the Ephs the 1-0 lead.  The goal was her fourth of the year.

Despite the early lead, the Ephs continued to push.  Just out of halftime, Mai Mitsuyama passed a corner kick to Hayley Cook, who fired the ball into the box. Kirshe headed the ball towards the gal, but Difiori just kept the ball out of the net. The ball went straight back to Kirshe, who put it back on net from about ten yards out. Difiori made the diving save.

Kirshe finally got her goal 54:47 into the game.  Mitsuyama put a free kick on goal. Difiori saved the initial opportunity; however, Kirshe headed the rebound into the back of the net to give the Ephs the 2-0 lead.

Van Wetter turned away four Bantam shots for the Ephs.  Difiori recorded nine saves for Trinity.  The Ephs outshot the Bantams by a total of 17-6 in today's matchup.

Said Coach Michelyne Pinard after the game, "I think we were knocking on the door early, and we had a couple opportunities that went off the crossbar. It seemed a little bit like twenty minutes in it was going to be one of those games, then Crystal scored... She's just been capitalizing so well. [Her] goal really got us going.  I think it calmed us down a little bit and really allowed us to play.  Trinity is a great team, so to keep them off the board was just amazing, and it was great to finish it out with that second goal in the second half."
Added Pinard about the team's mentality entering today's rematch with the Bantams: "It was an amazing opportunity to get to play someone who beat [us] earlier in the year.  We knew that we had more in us than we showed the first time we played them, and our goal was just to win every moment.  I thought we did that.  I thought we executed well throughout the 90 minutes."
Pinard commented about tomorrow: "As competitors, it doesn't get any better than that: To play a team that you lost to – not only on Saturday but then on Sunday – it literally just doesn't get any better than that.  We're going to enjoy every moment and give it all we've got."