WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - Despite a hat-trick from Emily Jablonski and 11 saves from Ali Piltch, Williams women's lacrosse fell to Amherst this afternoon 7-6 in double overtime. Amherst came back from a two goal deficit in the final 12 seconds before scoring 34 seconds into the second overtime to claim the victory.
Marta Randall led the Jeffs with three goals, including the game winner, and Lamia Harrick had eight saves in goal for the visitors.
Williams fell to 5-9 on the season and 1-8 in the NESCAC, and Amherst improved to 10-3 overall and 6-3 in the conference.
Both offenses struggled to find their flow in the first half, as the teams combined for 19 turnovers and both teams struggled to score. The Ephs were first on the board when tri-captain Margie Fulton scored on a free position shot 15:08 into the game. Jablonski made the score 2-0 with 4:24 to play in the half after she received a pass just outside the offensive on the zone on the left hand side and and ran toward the center before outracing her Amherst defender and beating Harrick in the bottom right corner. It appeared as though the Ephs might keep the Jeffs off the board for the entire half, as Piltch made three saves on free position shots and had six total saves on the half, but Amherst was able to take advantage of a man-up opportunity in the final two minutes when Hillary Densen came around from behind the net on the right hand side and beat Piltch with 1.6 seconds to play to make the score 2-1 headed into half time.
Amherst was unable to build on the momentum from Densen's goal coming out of the break, as Williams got on the board first in the second half when Jablonski came from behind the left of the goal, beat her defender by tiptoeing around the crease, and faked Harrick right before coming back left and hitting the twine 3:10 into the half to make the score 3-1.
However, Amherst was able to go on a run of three unanswered goals over the following 13:40: Randall scored first on a free position shot with 23:45 to play, before Allie Horowitz scored two unassisted goals by weaving left-to-right through the Eph defense and firing a shot, first with 21:02 to play, then with 13:01 remaining to make the score 4-3.
Following Horowitz's second goal, Williams bounced back from Amherst's run with a three-goal streak of their own. Jablonski started the run after she received a pass from Gallo moving away from goal in the middle, turned, and zig-zagged through four Jeff defenders before juking Harrick and scoring in the bottom left corner with 11:20 to play in the half, making the score 4-4. Rebecca McGovern then scored two goals for the Ephs over the next 3:10, giving Williams what appeared to be a decisive lead with her second goal off a pass from Emily Whicker with 8:10 to play. Amherst was able to break Williams' stall on several occasions, but Piltch came up big for the Ephs over the following eight minutes, making a save from the run of play and stopping two free-position shots with 6:18 and 48 seconds remaining, respectively.
However, it was not enough for the Ephs to pull out the victory. First, Randall was able to score on a man-up opportunity with a solo foray to the net with 12 seconds to play. The Jeffs then won the ensuing draw, and Emily Ludlow earned a free position shot with 1.5 seconds remeaining; Ludlow was able to beat Piltch as time expired to send the game to overtime.
The first overtime was uneventful, as the teams managed only one shot on goal between them – a free position shot 2:30 into the period that Piltch was again able to stop. However, thirty seconds into the second overtime, Randall was on her mark: She received a pass from Densen and scored on a quick stick to end the game.
"It's very frustrating to me that we cannot handle the ball well enough for four to five minutes to pull it out," said Williams head coach Chris Mason. "And offensively, we didn't handle the ball well enough the whole game. We tire ourselves out ... We should have been able to stall the last two minutes, but passed into blockers a lot because we weren't moving our feet well enough, we aren't cradling well enough. We just need to keep working through the end."
"I don't think we played well on offense everywhere offensively," Mason added. "We shot into the goalkeeper's stick high and didn't handle the ball well. Ali [Piltch] was phenomenal today and should be able to be ecstatic with a win, and we didn't pull it out for her, and that's frustrating. We'll just keep working til the end. We work hard, but we need to just keep working on the stick work right through the last game. The defense did a good job, and I think Ali played great."
Williams plays Middlebury at 5 p.m. at home on Wednesday in the final game of their season. Amherst will next face off with Trinity on the road at 7 p.m., also on Wednesday.