No. 24 women's soccer advances in NCAA tournament with 2-0 win over Gettysburg

No. 24 women's soccer advances in NCAA tournament with 2-0 win over Gettysburg

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Women's soccer kicked off the 2019 NCAA tournament with a two-goal first half, advancing to the second round with a 2-0 win over the Gettysburg Bullets on Saturday.

No. 24 Williams (10–5–2/6–3–1 in the NESCAC) got an early lead from a Claire Tolliver '23 goal, and Brianna Binder '22 doubled the advantage just before halftime. Goalkeeper Chelsea Taylor '22 saved each of the three shots on goal she faced from Gettysburg (13–5–1/6–3–1 in the Centennial Conference) in the shutout victory.

"We are playing our best soccer at exactly the right time," head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "We've been practicing and playing with a focus and confidence that we haven't seen all year. All the team wanted was a chance to dance in the NCAA tournament, and we're trying to make the most of it."

Williams dominated possession for much of the match, outshooting Gettysburg 24-6.

Tolliver put Williams ahead in the fourth minute. Midfielder Aspen Pierson '21 chipped a pass ahead to Tolliver, whose first touch took her behind the Gettysburg back line. Tolliver ran clear and slotted a left-footed finish into the far corner.

The first-year forward was on the ball again in the 10th minute, and she created another Eph chance, dribbling around multiple defenders in the penalty box. Tolliver cut the ball back to Pierson, but a defender cleared for Gettysburg.

The Bullets' best chance of the half came in the 12th minute, off the foot of senior defender Tatum Lareau. Lareau got behind the back line with her first touch, but Taylor saved cleanly for the Ephs.

Gettysburg goalkeeper Maddie Cunningham made a nice save in the 19th minute on a low, driven shot off the left foot of Pierson. On the ensuing corner kick, Pierson's delivery found the head of Victoria Laino '21, but the shot went over the bar.

Williams threatened again in the 34th minute, but Gettysburg defender Naomi Joseph cleared a shot from Alison Lu '20 off the line. Lu had rounded the keeper, but Joseph sprinted back to keep the ball out.

The Ephs doubled the lead minutes later, however. In the 36th minute, Liz Girvan '22 sent a ball into the box from a corner kick, and after a touch from midfielder Emma Lynch '23, Binder put the ball into the net. Gettysburg cleared the shot, but the referees ruled that the ball had crossed the goal line.

At the break, Williams led 12-5 in shots.

The best chance of the second half came in the 63rd minute, when the Ephs had a series of opportunities following a corner kick. Kappes sent the ball in for the corner, and after a tussle for the ball, forward Rain Condie '22 hit the left post with a shot. Another scramble for the ball ensued, and midfielder Georgia Lord '21 hit a curling shot that bounced out off the other post. The ball bounced back out to tri-captain Erika Jung '20, but Cunningham made the save.

Cunningham finished with 10 saves in the match. Williams managed 13 shots in the second half, while Gettysburg had just one, a shot on goal that was saved by Taylor.

Williams moves on to face No. 5 MIT (20–1–2/10–0–0 in the NEWMAC), the host for the regional, in the second round. MIT topped Johnson & Wales 3-0 earlier on Saturday, with two goals scored by MIT senior Montana Reilly, a Second Team All-NEWMAC forward.

MIT won 3-1 in its Oct. 13 match at Williams. In that game, Savannah Lawrence, Allie Werner and Emma Rutherford scored for the Engineers, while Victoria Laino '21 scored on a free kick for the Ephs.

Laino (8 goals, 2 assists) was named NESCAC Player of the Year on Monday. MIT senior midfielder Emily Berzolla (9 goals, 8 assists) was named NEWMAC Athlete of the Year.

Behind Laino, Tolliver (2 goals, 3 assists) is now tied with Mikayla Kappes '21 (3 goals, 1 assist) for second on the team leaderboard with 7 points.

"We're excited for the opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country tomorrow," Pinard said. "I believe we're ready."

Williams and MIT will kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday.