WATERVILLE, Maine — The long trek up to Maine is always a NESCAC trip to take seriously between the long travel time and the tough competition, and seriously was exactly how the Ephs approached their visit to Colby College on Saturday morning with junior Audrey Thomas inking her name further into the annals of Williams soccer history as she led the Ephs in a resounding 8-0 victory over the Mules that saw some truly lethal finishing from the Ephs.
Thomas scored four of the Ephs' eight goals, growing her season tally to seven goals in four games. More notably with those four goals, she tied the Eph single-game scoring record, equalling the mark that five other Ephs before her had laid down. The quartet of goals also brought the Washington native to 30 career strikes for the Ephs, lifting her into a tie for sixth place with Brianna Wolfson '10 and Sara Wild '11.
The pair of lackluster starts from the previous weekend were in no way replicated on Saturday, as it took just over five minutes for Thomas to find the back of the net and open up the scoring, before she doubled the Ephs' lead less than 90 seconds later, when she slotted the ball past the onrushing Mule keeper, Samantha Rizzo, after receiving a long ball out of the back from Eph keeper, Tressa Palcheck.
It wasn't too long after Thomas' second that fellow junior Kristi Kirshe added her name to the scoresheet, as she received a beautifully weighted pass from Crystal Lewin around the top of the Mule penalty area, before calmly placing it to Rizzo's left.
From that point, the Mules gathered themselves and remained resolute all the way into halftime, but the Ephs came out in the second half and showed no mercy to the Mule defense.
Thomas completed her hat trick and put the game well and truly out of reach in the 49th minute, when she received a ball from fellow junior Gabby Suarez in the heart of midfield and ran at the Mule defense. Thomas' pace proved to be just too much for them as she weaved through a pair of defenders and maintained great composure to lift the ball just over the flailing right arm of Rizzo.
Then ten minutes later, Thomas equaled the Eph single-game scoring record with a left-footed finish past Rizzo that found the bottom corner.
The Ephs weren't done there, however, as Hanna Kaeser added a goal in the 62nd minute to what has already been a bright start to her 2015 campaign. Kaeser received a pass from Natalie Turner-Wyatt as she bombed down the left flank. After cutting toward goal near the byline, she took a pop at goal, and it somehow found its way past Rizzo and into the back of the net.
The scoring margin only increased six minutes later, as it was Maddie Swarr's turn to bag her first goal of the season. The industrious midfielder made a late run into the box with several Eph players working their way down the left into a dangerous area. Eph first-year, Madison Feeney centered the ball perfectly to the feet of Swarr, who curled a gorgeous left-footed effort around Rizzo to give the Ephs the seven-goal advantage.
Kristina Alvarado rounded out the scoring several minutes before the final whistle blew, marking herself as the first freshman to score this season for the Ephs. Suarez was provider for the second time of the day, as Alvarado was on hand to finish off the move and match the Ephs' best scoring outing of 2014.
After the game, Eph head coach Michelyne Pinard praised the Ephs' impressive finishing: "I'm very pleased with our composure in the box. We've been working on that all week. The calm confidence we showed in front of goal today was excellent and I'm very pleased it resulted in terrific execution of those moments."
The Ephs have little time to rest on their laurels after improving to 4-0 (NESCAC 3-0) for the season, as they stay overnight in Maine for another NESCAC clash with Bowdoin, set for a 1PM EDT kickoff on Sunday. The Mules will look to rebound from their disappointing showing that saw them drop to 1-2 (NESCAC 0-2), as they face off against Connecticut College at noon EDT on Sunday.