WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — You have to go a long ways back to even find the last time eight goals were scored in a game at Cole Field, let alone by one team, but the Ephs did just that on Sunday afternoon, as they dismissed the Pilgrims of New England College by the margin of 8-0.
Freshman Natasha Albaneze notched the first two goals and then the assists for the next two in a span of nineteen minutes in the first half an hour.
The first goal came in the ninth minute from a long ball from junior Mai Mitsuyama, deep on the right side of midfield, after she was fed by sophomore Maddie Swarr. Mitsuyama's ball took a bounce and was controlled well by Albaneze, before she rounded Trisha Sardagnola to tap home her third goal of the season into an empty net, giving the Ephs the early lead.
Her fourth goal of the season came under eight minutes later, as the chance was once again engineered by Mitsuyama, who sent a long ball toward the Pilgrim box from the same spot as the first goal, this time picking out freshman Hanna Kaeser on the right touchline. Kaeser then centered the ball to the penalty spot, where Albaneze was waiting to smash home past Sardanola.
The Ephs showed no intention of stopping there, as it took them only five more minutes to find a third goal through Swarr. Albaneze turned provider this time, as she took a free kick from the left side of midfield. She sent the ball into the box, where it fell very kindly to the feet of Swarr to cooly slot home her first goal of the season and put the Ephs well and truly out of reach of the Pilgrims.
It was only five minutes later, however, that Albaneze once again featured in a goal for the Ephs, again as provider. An exchange of inch-perfect intricate passing resulted in Albaneze carving open the Pilgrim back line to match the knifing run of Kaeser, who poked it first-time under the left arm of the on-rushing Sardagnola.
The Ephs made it five off their first corner of the game in the 36th minute. Senior Sarah Brink sent the ball in from the right side that fellow senior Alex McInturf latched her head onto perfectly, smashing the ball past the flailing arms of Sardagnola, opening her account for her senior season.
It would be six before the half-time whistle, as just three minutes later senior Natalie Weyerhaeuser also notched the first goal of her senior season. Sophomore Katie Wardlaw served a perfect through ball to Weyerhaeuser in stride, allowing Weyerhaeuser to curl a right-footed shot toward the upper-right corner of the goal that Sardagnola got a palm to, but didn't do enough to stop the ball from rippling the netting of the right panel of the goal.
The Pilgrims got the second half underway, and they looked to be much more composed at the back for the first twenty minutes as they repelled any onslaughts from the Eph attack.
The Ephs finally broke down the Pilgrim back line again, however, in the 66th minute, as Wardlaw struck a beautiful right-footed dipping shot that caromed off the bar and fell right onto the foot of sophomore Kristi Kirshe, who poached the seventh goal of the game for the Ephs and the seventh goal of her season.
The day's scoring ended in the 81st minute as the combination of Brink and McInturf created a near carbon copy of the fifth goal, as Brink sent in a corner from the right side to the back post, and McInturf was there to knock the ball into the back of the net, this time off her shin.
The best chance for the Pilgrims to get on the scoreboard came two minutes after the Ephs' final goal, as the Pilgrims sent a ball into the box from a free kick thirty yards out that rattled around for an uncomfortable amount of time, before it was finally sent out of danger by an Eph defender.
After the game, Eph head coach Michelyne Pinard commented on the stellar finishing of her team: "I was pleased with our ability to attack at our pace and defend hard. I think that it's not easy to score goals, and I was proud that we got on the board and got on it early with lots of different people. I think for us this was a weekend where a lot of people got involved and a lot of people gained confidence, and that will be crucial as we go into a double-header NESCAC weekend."
The Pilgrims (9-4) look to return to their winning ways next Saturday at 3 PM EDT against Husson University. The Ephs also return to action next weekend with two hugely important home NESCAC games, the first against Wesleyan on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 12 PM EDT.