SOMERVILLE, MA—An early tally from Kristi Kirshe and some stout defensive play in the second half lifted the Williams women's soccer team (11-1-0, 6-1-0 NESCAC) over Tufts (6-5-1, 2-5-1 NESCAC) on Saturday afternoon. The victory was the Ephs' fourth straight over Tufts, which last defeated Williams in 2006.
Kirshe scored just 4:39 into the match, powering home a cross from Mai Mitsuyama and punctuating an early offensive flurry for the Ephs, who carried play throughout the first half. The goal was Kirshe's ninth of the season, putting her one behind teammate Audrey Thomas for the conference lead. Kirshe and Thomas are also tied for the NESCAC lead with 21 points apiece.
The Ephs had other chances to extend their advantage in the half, most notably when Crystal Lewin took a square pass from Thomas at the top of the box and pounded a shot off the crossbar, then skied the rebound over the same bar. A minute later, an Eph counterattack came even closer when Tufts goalie Eileen McGary came well off her line to stop a whistling shot from Kirshe on the left side.
Though the Jumbos did little to test Eph keeper Hannah Van Wetter in the game's opening stanza, the second half was a different story. They amassed seven corners and consistently looked dangerous at the edge of the box. They nearly broke through off one of those corners in the 58th minute, when Catherine Greer managed to steer a header on net, only to see it turned aside by Van Wetter, who then managed to smother the follow-up shot as well. That was the closest Tufts came to scoring, as the Ephs were content to wind the clock down in the game's closing moments.
With the win, the Ephs moved into a tie at the top of the NESCAC standings with idle Amherst, though the Jeffs hold the tiebreaker thanks to their win over Williams last month. The Ephs have three games remaining in their regular season, including tomorrow's 2:00 p.m. tilt against Middlebury at Cole Field tomorrow afternoon.