Williams jumps out to early lead, holds on for 9-6 win vs. Wheaton (Mass.)
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Williams (13-4, 7-3 NESCAC) defeated Wheaton (Mass.) (14-6, 7-0 NEWMAC) 9-6 in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament when Natalie Gill scored two back-to-back goals to establish a 5-0 lead for the Ephs in the first fifteen minutes.
Saturday's contest is the second all-time meeting between the Lyons and Ephs. Williams won the first match up 16-5 during the 2001 ECAC tournament Semifinals and went on to defeat Tufts in the championship 9-6.
The Williams Ephs came out strong at the opening of the game and dominated play to capture a 6-0 lead at the end of the first half. The Ephs were able to successfully work the ball around on their attacking end and prevent the Lyons from getting on the board in their defensive end. Alyssa Amos got the Ephs on the board less than twenty seconds into the game after Nancy Palmer won the first draw control of the contest for Williams.
Several turnovers on both ends prevented both teams from scoring for nearly nine minutes until Rebecca Bell found the net off a pass from Anne Rehfuss at the 20:56 mark. Less than a minute later Palmer scooped a loose ball off the ground and into the net to put the Ephs up by three less than ten minutes into the contest.
Five minutes later, Natalie Gill fired in a pair of goals just thirty seconds apart to put the Ephs up 5-0 with just under fifteen minutes remaining in the half. Following a save by Wheaton Goalie Katy Ananian, Bridget Malicki recovered the ball on a failed clear, ran it in, and fired in a shot to put the Ephs up by six with a minute remaining. The Ephs regained possession for the remainder of the half as the clock ran out.
The Lyons came out strong in the second half in which they would lead 6-2 in goals scored. They played with determination to come back at the Ephs and earned the first draw control of the half. However, strong Williams defense continued to thwart Wheaton's attacking efforts as the Ephs regained possession on a forced turnover in the defense and transitioned it up to their attacking end. Amos received a wide open feed from Maeve Mulholland and fired in the first goal of the half for the Ephs just over four minutes into play.
Wheaton would proceed to answer back with three consecutive goals beginning when Hayley Bright streaked down the center of the field, beating several Williams defenders, and fired in a goal to put the Lyons on the board just over a minute later. After passing the ball around their attacking end, the Leila Mills found the net once more for the Lyons. The Wheaton attack then caught the Ephs defense down a man when Mills split her defender and dumped a pass off to Hannah Gasperoni, who converted the shot to bring the game within four goals, the score now 7-3.
The Ephs were able to capitalize on a man up situation when Amos cut to the middle to receive a feed from Malicki at the top of the circle and scored an eight goal for the Ephs on a bounce shot. The Lyons battled back on their attacking end, earning a pair of free position shots, the first of which was saved by Williams goalie Ali Piltch. However, Jenna Tewksbury was able to convert the second free position shot with a bounce shot that hit top corner of the goal to bring the contest within four goals with 6:51 remaining.
Williams would score once more in the contest with a goal from Jenna Chodos. However the Lyons would continue to fight back and net two additional goals from Tewksbury and Mills. Key saves by Piltch on a free position shots prevented the Lyons from closing the gap further. Following the final goal of the game by Mills with just 48 seconds remaining, the Ephs regained possession and held onto the ball until the clock ran out with a 9-6 victory for Williams.
Amos led the Ephs with three goals and Gill followed with two while Malicki had two assists for the game. Mills and Tewksbury led Wheaton's scoring with two goals each.