KANSAS CITY, MO. -- The Williams College women's soccer team finds itself in a familar place this morning; mere hours from playing for a Div. III national championship.
The Ephs motto since preseason has been "Every Second" and for the final time in 2015, they will get an opportunity to do just that and perhaps bring home the first national championship in program history.
No. 6 Williams (20-1-2) plays No. 4 Washington-St. Louis (20-2-1) today at 2:30 P.M. EST at Swope Park Village's championship field. You can watch the game HERE. In Williamstown, the game will be broadcast live at the Log. You can follow via Live Stats HERE.
The Bears advanced to the finals by knocking off No. 1 Messiah in penalty kicks Friday, while Williams rallied for two second-half goals to edge Centre, 2-1, and advance to the national championship game for the second consecutive season.
"WashU is a great team, really athletic and also very tough defensively, so we really want to keep the ball spread around and move it quickly," Ephs' head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "I think we can attack at a faster pace. That's something that we take away today, we're very pleased and proud of our toughness but I think we know we can attack at a faster pace."
The Bears have a veteran team, evidenced by the fact their senior class Liz Collins, Sam Ezratty, Amy French, Olivia Lillegraven, Sade Odumuye, Anna Sippel and Abby Starker is the winningest in school history, leading the Bears to a 72-9-6 (.862) overall record in four seasons. They had advanced to the NCAA Tournament's twice before this season.
In yesterday's semifinal, the WashU goal was scored by Katie Chandler while goalie Lizzy Crist made five saves and then three additional huge save in penalties.
Offensively, the Ephs have mustered 49 goals in 23 games. Juniors Kristi Kirshe and Audrey Thomas both have 12 goals, while Kirshe has nine assists and Thomas four. SeniorCrystal Lewin has four goals, two in the postseason, and first-year Kristina Alvarado has four goals, also with two in the postseason.
Junior keeper Tressa Palcheck has a 0.45 goals against average in just over 1,900 minutes this season and a .880 save percentage. Senior co-captain Zoe Trutner anchors the backline in front of Palcheck, and First Team All-American Mai Mitsuyama and Maddie Swarr are key components in the midfield.
In Saturday's semifinal win, sophomore Natasha Albaneze scored twice while Palcheck came up with four saves.
Williams has outscored its opponents 17-5 in eight postseason games thus far.