Despite having a lineup depleted by injury, the 19th-ranked William Smith field hockey team improved to 6-0 with a 5-2 victory over Manhattanville in the first game of the William Smith Classic. The Herons never trailed the Valiants, but had to wait until the 55th minute to gain a two-goal advantage.
William Smith started the contest with three of its top four scorers on the bench with injuries, but the Herons still grabbed the early lead. Junior midfielder Kiersten Hamilton lifted a shot toward the Manhattanville goal that senior midfielder Sarah Gall tipped out of the air, past the keeper for a 1-0 edge in the 18th minute.
In the 25th minute, the Valiants (1-4) equalized when first-year midfielder Rebecca Pratt put a shot in the lower right corner of the cage. Even though William Smith had a dominating 19-2 advantage in shots, the match remained tied heading into halftime.
After the break, senior forward Natalie Blauvelt sticked home a rebound to put the Herons ahead 2-1 in the 41st minute. Three minutes later, senior forward Jen Ascencio scored on a hard backhand shot that was set up by a long cross from sophomore forward Melissa Goncalves.
First-year defender Melanie O’Connor gave William Smith the lead for good in the 49th minute, finishing off a scramble in front of the cage for her first collegiate goal. Sophomore forward Claire Manchester earned the assist on the play.
Senior forward Emily Atwan scored her team-leading seventh goal of the season to give the Herons some breathing room. She flipped a shot on goal that ricocheted off the inside of first-year goalie Melissa Grants’ left leg pad and found its way across the goal line.
First-year midfielder Margaret McConnell closed out the scoring with her first collegiate tally. Just 2 yards off the end line, she drove home a feed from senior forward Tempe Newson.
William Smith finished the match with a 36-4 advantage in shots and a 12-3 edge in penalty corners.
Grant made 21 of the 22 saves in the match, while classmate Amy Hilton recorded the other stop in 13 minutes of relief work.
In the second game of the Classic, No. 17 Franklin & Marshall defeated St. Lawrence 3-1. The Diplomats (5-0) and Herons will square off on Sunday, Sept. 19, at 3 p.m. The Valiants will tangle with the Saints (2-2) at 1 p.m.