Senior Annie Kietzman had a hand in every Heron goal, as top seeded William Smith College advanced to the championship match of the Liberty League Field Hockey Tournament with a 3-2 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The forward scored the game-winning goal and assisted on two more to break the school’s season assist record and tie the career assists mark.
In the 25th minute, Kietzman broke into the Engineers’ circle, dribbled around a defender and slipped a shot inside the right post to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, the Herons (15-3) earned a penalty corner. Kietzman inserted the ball to sophomore Sarah Tompson, who ripped a shot from the left slot for her fourth goal of the season. The assist gave Kietzman 18 for the season, one more than Liz Saucier’s six-year old season record.
William Smith led 2-0 at halftime, enjoying a 12-2 advantage in shots and a 4-3 edge in penalty corners.
Early in the second half, RPI (9-8) broke through the Heron defense to make it a one-goal game. Senior Alissa Peterson scored off a shot from the left side that deflected off a defender’s stick and into the cage for her team-leading 12th goal of the year. Senior Holly Dupuis assisted on the strike.
In the 45th minute, junior Melanie O’Connor gave William Smith some breathing room, taking a centering pass from Kietzman, spinning off a defender and tucking her shot inside the right post. It was the 39th assist of Kietzman’s career, matching current Assistant Coach Sophie Dennis’ six-year-old standard.
The Engineers again closed the gap to just a single goal when junior Kelsey Porter, assisted by Dupuis, finished off a scramble in front of the Heron goal. Less than two minutes later, RPI got off a pair of strong shots, but sophomore goalie Catherine Hare was able to turn away both with her blocker to preserve the William Smith lead.
Hare earned the win with three saves. O’Connor made a defensive save in support of Hare. Sophomore goalie Hannah Clough went the distance for RPI, making seven saves.
William Smith will host the Liberty League Championship match at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 when second-seeded Rochester comes to town. The No. 19 Yellowjackets outlasted No. 14 Skidmore 3-2 in overtime.