Middlebury, VT --- The Ephs seniors turned in a memorable performance in their final game but it was not enough to beat Middlebury.
The Ephs got off to a fast start. Corey Jacobs '11 took the opening faceoff and the Ephs wasted no time in getting on the board. Tommy Murray '11 found Matt Cranshaw '11 to give the Ephs a 1-0 lead. Freshman defensive midfielder Tucker Dayton '14 then scored two straight goals for Williams. The second one came after a nice takeaway by Aaron Flack '11. Flack flipped the ball to Dayton who darted up the field, dodged to his right and ripped a shot.
Mike Giordano finally put Middlebury on the board and ignited a run of five unanswered goals for the Panthers. Andrew Conner scored after a Matt Cranshaw penalty with 11 seconds left in the first quarter to close the deficit to 3-2.
Middlebury rattled off two more quick within 30 seconds of each other, one from John McGoldrick and one from David Hild.
Williams stopped the bleeding as Matt Cranshaw drove down the right hand side and lobbed a high pass to a cutting Sam Hargrove '12. Hargrove jumped up, caught the ball, and fired a shot all in one motion to close the deficit to one.
The Ephs found themselves in a tight game at halftime as a result of outstanding efforts from two senior leaders. Corey Jacobs dominated the faceoffs, winning 8-11 and Henry Mills '11 had 9 first half saves.
Middlebury's Tim Cahill opened the third quarter with a quick goal but Williams responded with a Mike Ryan '12 goal off a Matt Cranshaw assist. Tommy Murray then split two defenders to tie the game at 6.
The teams traded goals twice to end the quarter tied at 8. Tucker Dayton scored his third goal of the day and Corey Jacobs took a faceoff to the cage to tally a man-down goal for the Ephs. Giordano and Hild added goals for Middlebury.
While the Ephs more than held their own in the first three quarters, the fourth was all Middlebury. The Panthers rattled off three goals before Tommy Murray scored to make the deficit two.
The Ephs had their chances down the stretch but Middlebury goalie Ryan Deane stood strong. David Hild added the final goal for the Panthers to put the game out of reach. The final score was 12-9.
Deane had 10 saves and allowed nine goals. Henry Mills ended with 13 saves and gave up 12 goals.
Coach McCormack pointed to Middlebury's quick scoring flurry at the start of the fourth quarter as the decisive factor. He also noted the play of Corey Jacobs and Tucker Dayton as particularly impressive. As for the whole team, he commented, "I was really proud of the way we played."
The Ephs finish their season with a disappointing 2-11 record. However, the nation's toughest schedule and a host of injuries were certainly factors. The Ephs had many younger players contribute, setting the expectations high for next season.