2015 NESCAC Tournament
Women's Soccer Semifinals and Championship
Saturday, November 14
Sunday, November 15
Middlebury (7-4-5) at Williams (14-1-1)
Trinity (11-5-0) vs. Bowdoin (11-4-1)
Williams (15-1-1) vs. Bowdoin (12-4-1)
HADLEY, Mass. - Top-seeded Williams looks to hoist its sixth conference trophy in nine years when it hosts the remaining rounds of the 2015 NESCAC Women's Soccer Championship this weekend at Cole Field. Saturday's schedule gets underway at 11 a.m. when the Ephs take on sixth-seeded Middlebury. Second-seeded Bowdoin and fourth-seeded Trinity face off at 1:30 p.m. Advancing teams will battle for the NESCAC championship on Sunday at noon with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament up for grabs.
The Ephs (14-1-1, 9-1-0 NESCAC) earned the right to host the final four for the second straight year when they defeated eighth-seeded Hamilton, 2-1, on Saturday. With the game tied at 1-1, senior Crystal Lewin (Irvine, Calif.) picked a good time to score her second goal of the season in the 84th minute to lift Williams to its ninth consecutive semifinal appearance.
Williams will face sixth-seeded Middlebury (7-4-5, 4-3-3 NESCAC) for the sixth time in the last seven years in conference postseason play, including last year's 2-0 Eph win in the semifinals. The Panthers kept their season alive by upsetting third-seeded Amherst, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. Junior Amanda Hotvedt (Eagan, Minn.) completed Middlebury's come-from-behind victory when she scored with 22 seconds left in regulation. Offensively, junior Adrianna Gildner (Woodinville, Wash.) leads the squad with eight goals and 18 points, while junior Grace Woroch (London, U.K.) is tied for second in the conference with six helpers. Junior Kate Reinmuth (Olympia, Wash.) and sophomore Emily Eslinger (Wayzata, Minn.) have shared time in goal, but Reinmuth has seen the bulk of the goalkeeping duties at the end of season, registering a 0.89 goals against average and an .814 save percentage. Middlebury has three conference titles to its credit.The Ephs excel at both ends of the pitch, as they allow a conference-low 0.49 goals per game and own the league's second-best offense, scoring 2.13 goals per game. Williams has one of the top 1-2 scoring punches in the country in juniors Kristi Kirshe (Franklin, Mass.) and Audrey Thomas (Bellevue, Wash.). Kirshe leads all NESCAC players in points (27) and assists (7), and ranks second in goals (10), while Thomas leads the league with 11 goals and is second with 26 points. Both players have also netted five game-winning goals each. In goal, junior Tressa Palcheck (Schaumburg, Ill.) owns the NESCAC's best goals against average at 0.40, while posting an .885 save percentage. The defensive corps has only allowed two goals in two games this season. The Ephs are in search of their seventh overall NESCAC championship.
Williams leads the postseason series versus the Panthers with a 5-2-3 mark. Saturday's game marks the fifth time the squads have met in the semifinals. The Ephs will also be looking to avenge their only loss of the season, which came at the hands of Middlebury in a 2-0 decision on October 27.
Saturday's second semifinal features second-seeded Bowdoin (11-4-1, 7-3-0 NESCAC) versus fourth-seeded Trinity (11-5-0, 6-4-0 NESCAC).
Bowdoin is making back-to-back semifinal appearances for the first time since 2007-08 after shutting out seventh-seeded Tufts, 3-0. Senior Maggie Godley (North Kingstown, R.I.) set the tone early when she scored in the eighth minute, while senior Jamie Hofstetter (Chester, N.J.) assisted two goals and scored another to extend the Polar Bears' current winning streak to six games. Hofstetter and first-year Julia Patterson (Hingham, Mass.) have netted a team-best seven goals with Hofstetter also dishing out five assists. Senior Bridget McCarthy (Hopkinton, Mass.) is Bowdoin's primary goalkeeper, posting a 0.96 goals against average and an .816 save percentage with five shutouts. The Polar Bears are making their third semifinal appearance in the last four seasons and 11th overall, but are still looking for their first conference title after losing their two previous championship appearances versus Williams in 2007 and 2012.
Trinity advanced to its second-ever NESCAC semifinal by defeating fifth-seeded Bates, 2-1, last Saturday. After the Bobcats opened up a 1-0 lead, first-year Taylor Kirchgessner (Bethesda, Md.) assisted the Bantams' first goal and scored the eventual game-winner in the 36th minute. Kirchgessner and junior Laura Nee (Duxbury, Mass.) have tallied five goals each, but seven different players have scored game-winning goals for Trinity. In goal, the Bantams have relied on Monica DiFiori (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), who has played all but 11 minutes this season. The senior possesses an .839 save percentage, a 1.12 goals against average and eight shutouts. The Bantams aim to reach their first NESCAC championship game.
Bowdoin is 2-0-0 against the Bantams in the postseason, with the Polar Bears winning the most recent meeting in the 2007 quarterfinals, 2-0. Trinity'sCaroline McKenna (Sandwich, Mass.) scored in the 81st minute of the regular season meeting between the squads to give the Bantams a 1-0 win over Bowdoin on October 10.