WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Michelyne Pinard's Williams women's soccer team (14-0-1/9-0-1 NESCAC) will begin defense of their NESCAC title when they host Hamilton (5-7-3/2-71 NESCAC) on Sat. at 11 a.m. on Cole Field in the First Round of the NESCAC Tournament.
The Ephs opened the 2016 season with a game at Hamilton back on Sept. 7 and the Ephs came away with a 3-0 win behind two goals from first year Alison Lu, one from senior Kristi Kirshe, and six saves by sophomore keeper Olivia Barnhill.
The Ephs are averaging 2.73 goals a game and have allowed just four goals in 15 games (0.26 goals per contest).
Williams has seen its share of injuries this fall and Pinard reports, "We have been rather banged up over the last few weeks, but I hope/believe that everyone will be back for Saturday."
Defense, depth, and a liberal substitution approach has allowed Pinard's Ephs to navigate the list of injuries this fall. "Our depth continues to be an incredible strength for us, but I believe we've also added an ability to be tight defensively in all thirds of the field because of assistant coach Sarah Raymond's work with our team in that respect," noted Pinard. "I also think this team is incredibly hungry and inspired to create something special. What that is, nobody knows, but they are excited to give it all they have without being paralyzed by any pressures."
Asked if she feels that her team is feeling any pressure to repeat as NESCAC champions Pinard offered, "I actually think this is one of the loosest teams I've coached. They have a confidence in themselves and a willingness to embrace the unknown that is allowing them to tackle each challenge as it comes. It is refreshing to see a group of young women who aren't concerned with what has happened in the past, but rather what they are capable of creating together today, tomorrow, and the next day. They are incredibly committed to each other and excited to play on Cole. I'm inspired by them, and I think they are inspiring each other and that's a wonderful place to be at this time of the year."
2016 NESCAC WOMEN'S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, October 29 at Higher Seeds
No. 8 Hamilton at No. 1 Williams – 11:00 a.m.
No. 7 Connecticut College at No. 2 Amherst - 12:30 p.m.
No. 6 Bowdoin at No. 3 Middlebury - 12:30 p.m.
No. 5 Tufts at No. 4 Trinity - 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 5 at Highest Remaining Seed
Semifinals - games at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Highest Remaining Seed vs. Lowest Remaining Seed
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners
Sunday, November 6 at Semifinal Site
Final - 12 p.m.