Williamstown, MA--No. 5 ranked Williams women's soccer team started its NCAA title defense today, defeating the University of New England Nor'easters (10-7-2) 2-0. The Ephs (16-1-1) bounced back from their first loss of the year against No. 3 Middlebury in the NESCAC finals.
Tomorrow, Williams will play Stevens Institute of Technology at 1 PM on Farley-Lamb Field.
Against the Nor'easters, Williams dominated the turf, posting 12 shots on goal while allowing zero in return. In the first half, the fresh-faced duo Liz Girvan '22 and Brianna Binder '22 combined to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead. Liz Webber '20 padded the lead in the 53rd minute, scoring off a corner.
Eph head coach Michelyne Pinard talked about how her team overcame the challenge.
"There's always a unique challenge when you play the first game of an NCAA Tournament. With the wind, a surface we're not completely comfortable on yet, and lots of other challenges, I thought our team handled them all great. I thought we played incredibly well and moved the ball. And we're excited to play in the round of 32," she said.
In the 29th minute, on the unforgiving turf, and with the wind roaring, Liz Girvan sent a pass into the goal box, hoping to find her teammate Brianna Binder. New England's goalie Jenna Pannone sprinted forward to slide on the ball, but the ball came loose, leaving the goal exposed. Binder pounced, cut right, and scored through the legs of her defender, putting the Ephs up 1-0 as well as netting her first collegiate goal.
Williams extended their lead in the 53rd minute, with Aspen Pierson '21 serving the ball into the goal box off a corner. Liz Webber '20, who was recently named All-NESCAC, scored after Sarah Scire '20 deflected the ball back to her.
A corner kick in the 78th minute was the extent of Nor'easters offense. Eph centerback Maria Chapman '22 coralled any ball that happened to wander past midfield.
The one bright spot for New England was goalkeeper Jenna Pannone, who finished with a career-high 10 saves. Eph goalie Olivia Barnhill finished with no saves while posting the clean sheet.
Another noteable was Sydney Jones '21 who continued to lead the Eph offense, finishing with three shots on goal. Her speed also created space near the goal line, forcing several corner kicks, one of which resulted in Webber's goal.