WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Williams and Bowdoin played 110 minutes of soccer and they could not resolve the 1-1 tie that came out of the first 21 minutes of play. Forced into two overtimes the score remained deadlocked, but Williams topped Bowdoin 3-0 in the resulting penalty shootout to claim the 2012 NESCAC title and earn the NESCAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
With the tie the Williams record now stands at 12-3-2 on the year, while Bowdoin's record is 11-3-3.
While Williams had a slight edge in play in the first half, most of the shots by both teams ended up going over the cross bar.
The Ephs' Carla Nicasio had a good look from the top of the box and hit the ball firmly with her left foot, but too high. Bowdoin's Toni DaCampo had the same experience at the other end of the field just over a minute later.
In the eighth minute the Ephs' Hayley Cook fired off a shot that bounced before it reached McCarthy. The ball caromed to the Ephs' Abby Morrs who fired on goal, but the shot was right at McCarty.
Nicasio tested McCarthy moments later with a long looping shot from deep on the left side that found the Bowdoin keeper leaping up to bat the ball down and collecting it on a bounce.
The Ephs scored first when Abby Morrs charged down the side of the box to the left of McCarthy and fired a crossing pass that was intended for Lilly Wellenbach, but struck a Bowdoin defender's hand and a penalty kick opportunity resulted.
The Ephs sent Chloe Kuh to the spot for the shot. Kuh calmly buried her shot past McCarthy on the left side to put Williams up 1-0.
It did not take Bowdoin long to respond. The gritty Polar Bears who upset third seeded Amherst yesterday in a penalty shootout after battling back from down a goal three times scored in the 21st minute.
The Polar Bears' Jamie Hofstetter came on to a ball on the right side of the box and after a touch lasered a shot past Van Wetter at 20:58 to tie the game.
Even play marked the remaining 24 minutes of play in the first half and the teams went to the intermission tied at one goal apiece.
In the opening 45 minutes Williams had a slight edge in play firing off 8 shots at the Bowdoin goal causing the Polar Bears' netminder Bridget McCarthy to make four saves. Williams' starting goalie Hannah Van Wetter stopped one of two Bowdoin shots.
The Ephs inserted Laura Wann in goal for the second half. It's customary for the Ephs to change goalies at the half.
At 49:07 the Ephs' Louisa Costa turned the corner on McCarthy's left side and made it to the end line, where she crossed the ball to a charging Abby Morrs. Morrs' shot was just a bit wide to the right.
Just over 19 minutes later Bowdoin's Alex Yurick placed a corner kick in the box about eight yards out, but Hofstetter's header went just over the bar.
Yurick had a chance of her own to score when Laura Wann punched out a Bowdoin shot that Yurick tried to half volley into the open side of the goal. The ball squirted off Yurick's boot and went out of bounds.
For the rest of the contest in regulation and the overtime sessions the two tired teams were not able to muster much offense. "I think what you saw out there was two very tired teams at that point." said Eph head coach Michelyne Pinard.
After 110 minutes Williams had tested McCarthy nine times and she made 8 saves, while the Eph goalie tandem found Hannah Van Water making two saves and allowing one goal and Laura Wann making but one save over the final 65 minutes.
In the penalty shootout the Ephs were first to shoot. Lilly Wellenbach stepped up to the spot and calmly drilled home her shot. Bowdoin's first shot taker was Becky Stoneman. Stoneman was stopped by Wann giving Williams a 1-0 lead. Next up for Williams was Caitlyn Clark who also managed to get the ball past McCarthy. Bowdoin's second shooter was Casey Blossom. Blossom's shot was pushed aside by a diving Wann and Williams led 2-0.
Shooting third for the Ephs was Crystal Lewin who also beat McCarthy with a well-placed effort. Bowdoin's hopes for extending the shootout rested with Toni DaCampo. DaCampo's shot was off target to the right and Williams earned its fifth NESCAC title in the last six years and sixth over all.
"Laura's a great shot stopper and it was helpful to a get a read on Bowdoin yesterday," commented Pinard. "You know at the end of the day she's going to come up big becuase she is a great shot stopper, she is a senior and a leader."
Both Bowdoin and Williams will be tuned into the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Selection Show on Monday November 5th at 1:30 PM.
TOURNET TIDBITS: Williams was playing in its sixth straight NESCAC title tilt… the Ephs have won five of the previous 12 NESCAC titles, including four in a row from 2007-10…Bowdoin was out to capture its first NESCAC title… The Polar Bears were making their first appearance in the NESCAC title game since 2007 when they also faced Williams… Williams won the 2007 contest 4-0.