Nov. 20, 2010

Courtesy of Williams Athletics

With a pair of second half goals from Sara Wild and Annelise Snyder, the Williams College women's soccer team defeated Eastern Connecticut State 2-0, in the third round of the NCAA Div. III Tournament.

The Eph (15-2-3) advanced to the quarterfinals with the win and will face sectional host William Smith, who earlier in the day defeated Oneonta State, 2-0. The Herons and Ephs met on Sept. 20 this seaso, also in Geneva, preveiling 3-1.

"It's unbelievable," said Eph senior back Anne Marie Burke. "We're very excited to have another 90 minutes with a chance to be together for two more weeks and go to Texas (for the final four). We're playing our best soccer at the best time of year."

Despite outshooting Eastern 10-1 in the opening half, the game remained scoreless after the first 45 minutes. Warrior goalie Therese Pagnozzi came up with two key saves in the opening stanza, sliding out to block a Sara Wild shot with 14 minutes left in the period.

"I thought we struggled a little bit in the first half trying to find our rhythm," Ephs coach Michelyne Pinard said. "At halftime we talked about calming things down but still playing quickly. I thought we had some excellent ideas but just lacked execution."

Wild scored her 13th goal of the season just over eight minutes into the second half to give the Ephs the 1-0 lead. She teed up a direct kick from nearly 25 yards out on the right flank and perfectly placed a hard shot in the far top left corner.

The NESCAC Player of the Year has six goals in the Ephs three NCAA Tournament victories.

"Sara's always been good on re-starts, and she's worked hard to improve," Pinard said. "It just seems in the biggest moments she's at her best and that goal was a perfect example. Her ability to compose herself in that moment and strike such a good ball was special."

The Ephs' absorbed some pressure by EConn immediately after the goal, then went on the attack again. Brett Eisenhart fired a shot from the top of the box that clanged off the crossbar.

Snyder added an insurance goal with just under 13 minutes to play. The senior used her speed to get by a Warrior back on the left flank, then sped toward the goal, she flred a right-footed shot past Pagnopzzi at the near post.

Julia Schreiber and Laura Wann each made one save in the win. Williams ended up with a 21-4 shot advantage in the game as the back four of Lizzy Dahnhakl, Chelsea Davies, Sachi Siegelman and Burke limited EConn's quality scoring opportunities. First-year Carla Nicasio, midfielder Kara Duggan, Wild and Tyler Rainer also made some big plays that allowed the Ephs to retain possession.

"The whole team is really defending well," Pinard said, "but the back four are really doing a great job of keeping our shape. They are playing with such committment to the team goal I think it is giving everyone else on the field a lot of confidence."