The 10th-ranked William Smith College field hockey team jumped out to a five-goal lead less than 24 minutes into the match and cruised to an 8-1 victory over Oswego State in the season opener for both teams. Senior All-American Melanie O’Connor paced the Herons with two goals and two assists.
Aside from O’Connor’s career-high matching six-point night, William Smith featured a very balanced scoring effort with nine different players recording at least a point and seven different players notching a goal. The Herons’ eight goals are their most in a game since also scoring eight against Oswego State on Sept. 9, 2009, while the team’s 23 points are the most in a game since producing 23 against Nazareth on Oct. 27, 2006.
William Smith was especially effective on penalty corners, converting four of their 14 tries. Senior Taylor Cappello and O’Connor opened the scoring in the eighth minute on a corner with Cappello inserting to O’Connor. The latter fired a shot at the left post that Cappello redirected for a 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later, sophomore Cory Connolly fired a long shot from outside the circle that junior Caitlyn Moran got a stick on for a 2-0 lead. The Herons kept the pressure on in the 17th minute when first-year Katie Meyer pushed home her own rebound to make it 3-0.
William Smith scored off another corner in the 21st minute when senior Margaret McConnell took the insertion from Cappello and unleashed a screaming shot from the top of the circle for a four-goal lead. Three minutes later, McConnell again took the insertion at the top of the arc, but this time fed O’Connor on the right wing, who scored to make it 5-0.
The Lakers broke up the shutout in the 27th minute when junior Cassie Langone scored on a point-blank shot from the left post, set up by senior Ashley Fiorille.
The Herons got the goal back before the half when first-year Austen Gillen-Keeney tapped in a feed from sophomore Erin Miller 37 seconds before halftime.
O’Connor had a hand in both second half goals, setting up classmate Julia Simmons in the 60th minute and scoring on a tipped shot from McConnell in the 62nd minute.
First-year Amy Feda made two first-half saves to earn the win. Classmate Biz Chirco didn’t face a shot in the second half, but did make a couple of nice plays, clearing the ball out of her circle before the Lakers could mount an attack. Sophomores Grace Lombardi and Priscilla Paulose combined to make 12 saves for Oswego State.
William Smith dominated the final box score, owning a 28-5 advantage in shots and a 14-4 edge in penalty corners.
The Herons will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 7, when they host Ursinus at noon. The Lakers continue their six-match road trip at Ithaca on Sept. 4 at 4 p.m.