The 10th-ranked William Smith College field hockey team rallied from a 3-1 halftime deficit to force overtime and outlasted SUNY Cortland 3-0 in a penalty shootout to earn its 10th consecutive win by a score of 4-3. Junior Melanie O’Connor scored a pair of second half goals to force overtime and the Heron defense was nothing short of spectacular in the final 65 minutes of the match.
Junior Taylor Cappello added a goal and sophomore Caitlin Moran had an assist for William Smith (11-1). Sophomore goalie Catherine Hare started in goal and made two saves in the first half before giving way to senior Taryn Little, who stopped eight shots in the second half and overtimes.
Junior Erin Smith opened the scoring for Cortland (6-5) on a penalty corner in the 12th minute when she scored off a long blast near the top of the circle. Junior Taylor Cappello tied the score 70 seconds later, converting a one-on-one against sophomore goalie Amanda Perricone (9 saves) for her team-leading 14th goal of the season. The Red Dragons took a 3-1 lead into the half as senior Sara Woodward scored on a deflection in front at 15:30 and Smith notched her second of the game at 30:32 with a 5-yard shot through traffic. Both of those strikes also came off penalty corners.
Just 2:02 into the second half, O’Connor made it a 3-2 game. She carried the ball into the circle from midfield, made a spin move and deposited a shot inside the right post. With 5:30 remaining in regulation, O’Connor sent the game into overtime with a reverse-stick shot through traffic.
In the closing minutes of regulation, Cortland temporarily celebrated a go-ahead goal with 3:30 left, but the officials waved off the tally because the ball did not exit the circle before being brought back in on a penalty corner.
The Red Dragons controlled play in the first overtime. Heron senior Sara Helmer made a defensive save to preserve the tie and Cortland was awarded a penalty stroke on the ensuing scramble at the 8:48 mark. However, Little made a diving save on Smith’s attempt at the left post. With 7:30 remaining, Smith had another chance to end the match but hit the near post from the left side with a lifted shot.
After getting outshot 6-1 in the first 15 minute OT, William Smith (11-1) turned things around, putting four shots on goal to the Red Dragons’ one in the second OT. Cappello was robbed of a chance to be the hero with 4:55 remaining when senior Liz DeWaters made a defensive save, necessitating the shootout.
In the shootout, Helmer, Cappello and Kietzman converted for the Herons while Little stymied Cortland on its three tries.
William Smith will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 13, when the Herons travel to Ursinus. The match is scheduled to begin at noon.