The William Smith College field hockey team got a pair of goals from junior Melanie O’Connor, but Tufts University doubled up the Herons 4-2 in the second round of the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championship on McCooey Field on Saturday, Nov 10. The Herons end the season with a 16-4 record while the Jumbos improve to 16-2 and will face Bowdoin in the third round.
Tufts controlled the opening 15 minutes of play, with several great chances to take the lead. The first good chance for the Jumbos came three minutes in as Emily Cannon handle into the circle and backhanded a shot wide. Moments later, off of a William Smith turnover at midfield forced by Kelsey Perkins, Tufts pushed into the circle, where Lia Sagerman rifled a shot that was kick-saved by Heron goaltender Catherine Hare. The Jumbos earned a penalty corner a few minutes later and Cannon crushed a shot from the top of the circle that banged off the post as the game remained scoreless.
William Smith’s best early opportunity came immediately following, as the Herons countered with a push down field, getting behind the Tufts defense. But Amy David’s open opportunity on the back post sailed wide left.
Off Tufts’ fourth corner opportunity, the Jumbos finally cashed in as a drive by Rachel Gerhardt was redirected inside the back post by Lia Sagerman with 16:56 left in the opening half. Three minutes later, on a nearly identical play, Chelsea Yogerst redirected a Gerhardt drive to make it 2-0 at 13:50. The Jumbos carried their two-goal lead into intermission, holding a 8-1 advantage in shots at the break.
The story stayed the same early in the second half, as Tufts again coverted on a penalty corner as Maggie Chapman redirected a Cannon drive to make it 3-0 with 30:10 to go.
The Herons got one back when O’Connor put home a loose ball in front with 25:20 remaining. William Smith looked to cut into the lead even further just a few seconds later on a fast break, but a long pass across the circle just evaded the reach of Julia Simmons on the back post to keep it a two-goal game. Following a spectacular save by Jumbos goaltender Brianna Keenan, William Smith converted on its second-straight penalty corner as O’Connor collected a loose ball in the middle of the circle and ripped a turnaround shot to make it 3-2 at 17:52.
Tufts stemmed the tide and earned a penalty corner, where a William Smith defender was called for a foul in the circle. Awarded a penalty stroke, Cannon deposited the chance inside the right post to push the lead back to 4-2 with 12:41 to go and William Smith could not get any closer as Tufts held on to win.
Keenan earned the win with two saves. Hare made three stops in nearly 48 minutes of work and senior Tayrn Little turned back one shot in relief.