Women's Soccer Tops Tufts 3-2 to Reach NESCAC Finals

Women's Soccer Tops Tufts 3-2 to Reach NESCAC Finals
Williamstown, MA--No. 2 women's soccer (15-0-2 NESCAC 9-0-1) earned their second win of the NESCAC tournament, defeating the Tufts Jumbos (10-5-2 NESCAC 5-3-2) 3-2. Two first half goals and an own goal from Tufts gave Williams a comfortable 3-1 lead at the half. Tufts cut the deficit to one in the 50th minute, but scrappy defense from the Ephs clinched a championship birth.
 
The Ephs are going for their ninth NESCAC title, the most of any conference school. The NESCAC Finals will be played at 3 PM tomorrow on the turf at Farley-Lamb Field. 
 
Aspen Pierson '21 opened the scoring in the 6th minute after striking a failed clearence towards the net. The ball clipped off a defender, sailing over the head of Tuft's netminder Emily Bowers. Bowers tried her best to recover, but the ball rolled slowly into the net to give the Ephs an early 1-0 lead.
 
Tuft's responded in the 15th minute, with Sophie Lloyd posting her 10th goal of the year. 
 
With the game tied 1-1, Victoria Laino '21 looked to capitalize on a free kick in the 33rd minute. She sent a high arcing shot into air that sailed over Tuft's wall and found a tight window in the upper-right corner of goal, putting the Ephs back on top. 
 
Despite the cold and rainy conditions, Williams continued to find offensive opportunities. In the 42nd minute, with Williams charging down the right flank, Sarah Hollinger '19 found to Rain Condie '22 on the right side. Condie skipped a pass into the goal box, intending to find a teammate. One of Tufts defenders blocked the shot, but her deflection sent the ball into the net for an own goal. 
 
Williams owns the top defense in the league, surrendering five goals and posting 10 shutouts. Tufts would need a second half surge to hand the Ephs their first loss of the season. 
 
But following the half, Hannah Isenhart and Sarah Maloney combined to shrink the deficit to one, giving Tufts hope for a comeback. 
 
Then, in the 61st minute, Tufts had a chance to equalize. After a dangerous pass back, Eph goalie Olivia Barnhill '19 was forced to leave the goal box to dive on the ball. She got there time, but the ball came loose and was placed perfectly in front of Tuft's Liz Reed. Reed slammed a shot towards the open net, but Barnhill somehow managed to block it. 
 
Tufts would have only one more shot on goal in the half. Tight defense in the final 30 minutes secured the 3-2 victory for Williams. 
 
Tallying the scorecard, Tufts had a 17-15 advantage in shots and a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks. 
 
Eph goalie Olivia Barnhill had four saves and two goals allowed. Tuft's Emily Bowers had three saves and three goals allowed. 
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