HADLEY, Mass. - Williams earned the top seed and home field advantage throughout the 2018 NESCAC Women's Soccer Championship for the fifth year in a row following a 1-0 victory over Middlebury in the final game of the regular season. The tournament begins with quarterfinal matches on the campus of the higher seeds on Saturday, October 27. Middlebury, Amherst and Tufts will also host quarterfinal contests. Following Saturday's action, the highest remaining seed will host the semifinals and championship game on November 3-4.
Williams (13-0-2, 9-0-1 NESCAC), the defending NESCAC Champions, has been in every NESCAC Tournament since 2000. The Ephs, who own eight NESCAC titles, the most of any conference school, are hosting a quarterfinal game for the 14th consecutive season. Williams owns the top defense in the league, surrendering five goals and posting 10 shutouts. The Ephs will begin defense of their conference title by hosting No. 8 Colby in the quarterfinals.
Bowdoin and Colby both finished the regular season tied with 10 points. In head-to-head competition, Bowdoin tied Colby. The teams had the same conference win percentage and the same number of conference wins. In results against the top four teams (Williams, Middlebury, Amherst, Tufts), Bowdoin went 1-3-0 and Colby went 0-4-0, giving Bowdoin the No. 7 seed and Colby the No. 8 seed.
Colby (7-6-1, 3-6-1 NESCAC) is in the tournament field for the first time since 2014, which is also the last time the Mules were the No. 8 seed. Colby enters the tournament having won three straight matches. Williams is 3-1-0 against the Mules in NESCAC postseason play. The two teams last met in the 2014 quarterfinals, with the Ephs earning a 1-0 victory. Williams posted a 1-0 win over the Mules on its home turf on September 15.
Middlebury (13-1-1, 8-1-1 NESCAC) is the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC Championship, following a 1-0 loss to Williams in the regular season finale. The Panthers are the No. 2 seed for the first time since 2011, and have been in every NESCAC Championship field since 2000. Middlebury has claimed three NESCAC titles, the last coming in 2013. Middlebury ranks second in the conference in goals scored (40), while also owning a goals against average of 0.53. The Panthers will host a quarterfinal game for the third straight season when they meet No. 7 Bowdoin to open tournament play.
Bowdoin (7-6-2, 3-6-1 NESCAC) has also made every NESCAC Championship field since 2000, but is in search of its first NESCAC title. The Polar Bears are the No. 7 seed for the first time since 2010 after earning a 1-0 win over Tufts in the final game of the regular season. The last time Bowdoin advanced to the semifinal round was 2015, the same year the Polar Bears made their last appearance in the final. Middlebury owns a 3-1-0 advantage over Bowdoin in the NESCAC postseason series. The teams last met in the 2016 quarterfinals with Middlebury topping Bowdoin, 2-1. The Panthers posted a 3-1 victory over the Polar Bears at Middlebury on September 22.
Amherst (12-2-1, 7-2-1 NESCAC) is the No. 3 seed for the fifth time in program history and first time since 2015. The Mammoths have four NESCAC titles to their credit, the last coming in 2016. Amherst leads the NESCAC in scoring with 43 goals, while its defense owns a 0.46 goals against average with a league-leading 12 shutouts. The Mammoths enter the tournament having won eight of their last nine games. Amherst will host No. 6 Hamilton in a quarterfinal matchup.
Hamilton (8-4-3, 4-4-2 NESCAC) is seeded sixth for the second straight season. The Continentals are making back-to-back appearances in the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since they made consecutive appearances in 2011 and 2012. Hamilton earned its first NESCAC tournament victory last year to advance to the semifinals for the first time in program history. Saturday's quarterfinal contest marks the first meeting between Amherst and Hamilton in NESCAC Tournament play. The Mammoths handed Hamilton a 2-0 loss at Amherst on October 6.
The final quarterfinal matchup of the NESCAC Women's Soccer Championship features No. 4 Tufts (9-4-2, 5-3-2 NESCAC) hosting No. 5 Wesleyan (8-4-3, 4-3-3 NESCAC). Tufts is making its sixth consecutive appearance in the NESCAC Championship field, and has been in the tournament 18 times in the last 19 years. The Jumbos will host a quarterfinal game for the third straight year. Tufts is tied for the league lead in assists (27) and has allowed nine goals this season (0.57 GAA). Last year's NESCAC Runner-Up, the Jumbos begin their quest to return to the championship game against the Cardinals as they look to capture their second NESCAC crown, having won the program's only title in 2002.
Wesleyan is in the tournament field for the first time since 2013 and is the No. 5 seed for the first time since 2011, matching the highest seed in program history. The Cardinals' eight wins are the most since 2011 as they enter the tournament riding a three-game unbeaten streak. Wesleyan's last victory in the NESCAC Championship was in 2012 when it upset top-seeded Middlebury in the quarterfinals. Tufts and Wesleyan have met once in the NESCAC postseason, playing to a 1-1 draw in the 2011 quarterfinals. The Cardinals advanced on penalty kicks to make their second appearance in the semifinal round. This season, the two teams met on September 12 at Tufts, with the Jumbos coming away with a 2-0 victory.