WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams women's soccer team defeated the Wesleyan Cardinals (2-3-1, 1-3-0 NESCAC) 3-1 today behind goals from Carla Nicasio, Alex McInturf, and Hannah Levin. The Ephs had a 2-0 lead after the opening frame before both teams scored late in the second. With the win, the Ephs move to 3-2-0 overall and 3-0-0 in the NESCAC.
The Ephs started the game on the attack putting a lot of pressure on the Cardinal defense. After an early goal was called back due to an offside call, the Ephs finally found the back of the net just over twenty minutes into the game. Nicasio had the ball at the top of the box and attempted two shots that were blocked by Wesleyan defenders. Nicasio stuck with it, though, and made a quick move around the sea of defenders and finished in the right side of the net for her first goal of the year.
With just over two minutes to go in the first, Lindsey Vandergrift fed the ball into the box from the right sideline. McInturf was in the box alone with a defender as she headed the ball over Cardinal goalie Jessica Tollman to give the Ephs the 2-0 lead that they carried into the break.
The second half proved more even at the start, and the Cardinals came out looking much more fiery on attack. The Ephs continued to push as well. As the half continued, however, the Ephs started to put more pressure on the Wesleyan defense. The Ephs converted with six minutes left when a Wesleyan defender miscleared the ball in the box. First-year Levin, who had subbed in just moments before, picked up the loose ball and finished in the left corner of the net.
Wesleyan finally found a goal of its own just over three minutes later. After forcing a corner, Kerry Doyle launched the ball into the box, where it was misplayed by a Williams defender. Beth Alexion found the back of the net for the Cardinals. Despite the sudden burst of momentum, it was too little too late for the Cardinals, and the Ephs walked off the field with the NESCAC win.
The Ephs outshot the Cardinals by a tally of 18 to four in today's matchup. Said Coach Michelyne Pinard after the game about her team's key to the strong attack: "We went into this game knowing that we couldn't think through this game, that it really had to be an emotional 90 minutes. I knew if we were able to do that, our timing would be better, our ideas would be better because we're more fluid and more effective when we're just competing."
Pinard went on to say, "We think all week. This was an opportunity for them to just fly. I wanted to release that in them. I think that's what we talked about over the last couple days: just going, just flying, just playing, and enjoying each other's little successes…I think they were doing that, and it really created a great energy for us today."
Pinard also commented on the attack coming from a wide range of people: "We are 27 deep for sure. It's a situation where we need everyone scoring, [and] we need everyone feeling responsible for our attack. I think if that's happening, it's only going to make us more challenging to deal with for other teams."
Williams returns to the field tomorrow to take on Connecticut College. The game will take place at Cole Field at 1:30.
Looking towards tomorrow, Pinard said, "I think we're definitely going to see how tough we are, see how resilient we are. I think we're fit, so I think we're ready to go. I just want us to play as freely and as joyfully as we did today. If we can do that, it's going to be hopefully another fun 90 minutes."