Women's Soccer Advances to NCAA Elite 8; eliminates TCNJ in PKs

Women's Soccer Advances to NCAA Elite 8; eliminates TCNJ in PKs

Geneva, NY--After playing to a scoreless tie, No. 5 Williams women's soccer (17-1-3) defeated The College of New Jersey Lions (15-1-2) 4-3 in penalty kicks. The Ephs advance to the Elite 8 for the 5th year in row and will play the winner of the Amherst-William Smith game. 

For 110 minutes the Ephs battled at midfield, hoping to breakthrough against one of the toughest defenses in the NCAA tournament. The Lions allowed only five goals during the regular season and posted an impressive 0.27 Goals Against Average. 

Though few and far between, the Ephs had chances. In the 29th minute, TCNJ's Nora Burdge received a yellow card after injuring a Williams forward (she would leave the game and not return), leading to a free kick just outside the penalty area. Aspen Pierson '21 got the shot on net, but it was saved by TCNJ goalie Nicole DiPasquale. 

DiPasquale would finish with two saves and allow no goals.

In the second half the Lions began to dominate possesion by putting pressure on the Eph's throw ins. After finding space on the right flank in the 69th minute, Lion's forward Nikki Butler had an opportunity to score, but the chance was smothered by a brilliant slide by Olivia Barnhill '19. Barnhill finished with three saves in the match. 

Late in the second half, with overtime looming, Sarah Hollinger '19 lead breakaways down the left flank and tried to cross the ball to Georgia Lord '21, but her attempts were intercepted by the Lions' backline. Hollinger would get a shot off in the 86th minute but missed wide left. 

First overtime came and went after play stalemated at midfield. Second overtime saw a few opportunitiess for the Lions, most notably in the 104th minute when TCNJ's Taylor Nolan took a shot from 30 yards out that sailed just over the cross bar. 

With both teams playing astute defense, the game reached its inevitable conclusion: penalty kicks. Kristina Alvarado '19, one of the team's leaders, took the first penalty kick, burying the ball on the left side of the net. 

Later, with the both teams tied at three, first-year Rain Condie converted, giving Williams a 4-3 lead. If Barnhill guessed correctly or if the shot missed, the Ephs would advance. 

TCNJ's Caroline Rubin sent the ball towards left side. Barnhill guessed correctly, diving left, but it didn't matter. The ball glanced off the left post, safely away from the net. 

The Ephs return to action tomorrow at 1 PM to play sectional host William Smith, which ousted Amherst, 2-1.

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