Women's Soccer Beats Middlebury 1-0, Clinch No. 1 Seed in NESCAC Tourney

Women's Soccer Beats Middlebury 1-0, Clinch No. 1 Seed in NESCAC Tourney

Williamstown, MA -- The Williams Ephs (13-0-2/ NESCAC 9-0-1) beat the Middlebury Panthers (13-1-1/ NESCAC 8-1-1) 1-0. Aspen Pierson '21 scored the game-winner off a set piece at 54:08. 

With the win, the Ephs remain undefeated and clinch the top spot in the NESCAC tournament. 

After putting pressure on Middlebury's defense, the Ephs earned a free kick in the 54th minute. Georgia Lord '21 and Aspen Pierson '21 hovered over the ball a few yards outside the penalty area as Middlebury built their wall. In a flash, Lord darted right, and Pierson came and unleashed the shot. The ball, curling left to right, missed the wall and flew past Midd's goalie Eva Shaw into the net.  
 
With surging confidence and a 1-0 lead, the Ephs dominated possession. Middlebury needed a breakaway. In the 66th minute, Midd's Ellie Greenberg found space on the left side and looked for the cross, but prescient defense by the backline averted any sniff of an equalizer. Again in the 75th minute, Midd's Sabrina Glaser cut across the penalty arc on a breakway and got the turnaround, but a cool headed Olivia Barnhill '19 made the save.
 
The real challenge came in the 78th minute. It was there that Middlebury's Virginia Charman charged past midfield and flicked a pass to her teammate Greenberg. Greenburg found a slot in the Eph backline and got one-on-one with Barnhill. Greenberg ran, but Barnhill rushed and slid into the shot, skying the ball to midfield. 
 
These moments defined the game: the shot and the save. In both, the Ephs triumphed. 
 
"Big games demand big moments. That got us through today," said Eph head coach Michelyne Pinard. "What I'm most excited about though is the competitive fire that we're playing with. It's appropriate and well-timed for the playoffs."
 
So with fire in their eyes and an intrepid spirit, the Ephs head to the playoffs. 
 
Both teams had chances early. In the first minute, a Midd forward hurled a cross into the goal box. Midd's Eliza Van Voorhis headed the ball on net, but it was corralled by Barnhill. In the 6th minute, a corner from Olivia Miller clipped the foot of Voorhis but missed to the left badly.
 
In the 14th minute, a botched pass by Middlebury left Pierson one-on-one with Shaw but her shot hit the post. 
 
Middlebury had the advantage in shots on goal (9-4) and corner kicks (3-2). 
 
Eph Olivia Barnhill had five saves while posting the clean sheet. Middlebury's Eva Shaw had two saves but one goal allowed.
 
 
The Ephs will host the first round of NESCACs this Saturday.