First-year Melanie O’Connor recorded her first career hat trick to lead the 19th-ranked William Smith field hockey team to a 6-1 Liberty League victory over Vassar this afternoon. The win secured a spot for the Herons in the four-team conference playoff that begins Nov. 3.
William Smith (11-6, 4-3) dominated the match, outshooting the Brewers 32-6, while taking twice as many penalty corners (10-5).
O’Connor opened the day’s scoring with an unassisted strike just 3 minutes, 26 seconds into the match. In the 24th minute, senior Tempe Newson made it a 2-0 lead, finishing a feed from first-year Margaret McConnell.
The Brewers (2-14, 0-7) made a game of it heading into halftime when Emily Maier scored in the 34th minute to cut the home team’s deficit in half.
Early in the second half, O’Connor and the Herons squashed any thoughts of a Vassar comeback. O’Connor netted her second just 3:55 into the session and wrapped up her first collegiate hat trick in the 46th minute. All three of her goals were unassisted, doubling her season scoring total.
First-year Taylor Cappello set up senior Emily Atwan‘s team-leading 13th goal of the season at the 49:10 mark then Cappello wrapped up the scoring in the 53rd minute with her eighth goal of the year.
Sophomore Taryn Little made one save in 59 minutes to earn the win, while senior Chelsea Snyder stopped two shots in relief. Vassar’s Maggie Brelis and Rachel Horwitz combined for 10 saves.
William Smith will wrap up the regular season at home on Oct. 30. The Herons will host Geneseo on McCooey Field at 2 p.m. William Smith will enter the Liberty League Tournament as the No. 3 seed. The Herons will travel to No. 2 Hamilton on Nov. 3.