WILLIAMSTOWN, MA- The Williams field hockey team (1-0-0,1-0-0 NESCAC) opened their season with an exciting victory over Bates (0-1-0, 0-1-0 NESCAC), with first-year powerhouse Annie VanWagenen (Rye, NY) scoring three goals to the Bobcats' two.
Sophomore Caitlin Conlon (Sudbury, MA) assisted VanWagenen on Williams' first goal, scored just 10:09 into the first half. Conlon, a forward, made four shots on goal herself and was a major player in the Eph's strong offensive line. "Caitlin's ball handling and possession on the left side was amazing. She's really fun to watch," says head coach Alix Barrale.
The Ephs carried a one-nothing lead until 38:57, when Bates' Polly Merck, a junior, made a successful bid on goal. Williams made a quick comeback with two unassisted shots by VanWagenen at 43:18 and 46:09, bringing the game to 3-1. Bates made a strong last-minute attempt at victory, with first-year Shannon Beaton, assisted by Merck, scored her team's second goal at 55:09. The Bobcats pressed hard on the Ephs' goal for the last moments of the game, calling two time-outs and keeping the ball on Williams' side, but were unable to tie the score.
Along with VanWagenen and Conlon's goal attempts, junior Emily Jablonski (Madison, CT), first-year Lexie Brackenridge (Boston, MA), and sophomore Haley Ladd-Luthringshauser (Boxborough, MA) brought Williams' shots on goal up to 14 total. Bates' total shots on goal came to ten. Williams had only a slight edge over Bates in penalty corners, earning eight to the Bobcats' seven.
Bates goalie, junior Becca Otley, made five saves in the first half and six in the second. Junior Ariana Spiliotes (Bethesda, MD), who was starting goalie for the Ephs all of last year, had two saves in the first half and six in the second. "Arianna was outstanding. She couldn't have done anything about that second goal," says Barrale.
VanWagenen is excited for the coming year, though she remains modest about her skills. "As a first year, I want to work on elevating my game to a college level and helping the team out. We really mesh together well, and everyone did a great job today."
Coach Barrale adds, "Annie has been fighting injury and was sick for a while, but she took great opportunities on the corners. Trying to piece everything together throughout the week has been challenging, but we've all been supporting each other. Our future is unwritten, in my opinion-- any game could go anywhere, just like this one. It's going to be an exciting season, and I'm optimistic."
The Ephs will next play against Keene State in a home game on Renzie-Lambe field this Tuesday at 6pm.