With less than three minutes remaining in the match, sophomore Morgan Atanasio converted a penalty stroke to lift the No. 18 William Smith field hockey team to a 4-3 Liberty League win at St. Lawrence. Classmate Melanie O’Connor led the Herons with a pair of unassisted goals.
In the eighth minute, O’Connor opened the scoring, spinning off a defender and putting a hard shot by goalie Nicole Matos inside the near-post. The Saints pulled evened two minutes later when junior Ashley Ferenczy redirected a pass to senior Taylor Vogt.
William Smith (7-2, 1-1) went back in front when sophomore Taylor Cappello beat her defender and slid the ball past a diving Matos in the 20th minute. With 30 seconds left in the first half, O’Connor scored her second goal of the game when she knocked home a rebound off a Matos save to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage at the half.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Saints’ senior Emily Riley found classmate Erika Swits on a fast-break, who slipped the ball past Little to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Five minutes later, William Smith had two excellent chances to extend its lead, however Matos made a diving save off a one-on-one attempt, and followed that up with a save on a penalty stroke.
In the 55th minute, Riley tallied her second assist of the game when she set up first-year Carly Stine at the back post off a corner, evening the score.
With under 3:00 minutes remaining in the second half, the Herons earned their second penalty stroke of the match when the ball was pinned under Matos during a scuffle in from of the goal. Atanasio beat the Saint goaltender low and to the left to put William Smith in front for good.
The Saints (4-4, 1-1) had one more solid chance to even the score when they were awarded a corner with no time remaining, but the Herons held on for the win.
William Smith held advantages over St. Lawrence in both shots (20-9) and penalty corners (15-8). Junior Taryn Little made three saves to get the victory, while Matos logged 14 saves for the Saints.
The Herons return home to face Geneseo State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28.