The 10th-ranked William Smith College field hockey team got a huge defensive save midway through the second half and scored the go-ahead goal nine minutes later to defeat a determined Ursinus College squad 2-1 on McCooey Field this afternoon. The Herons improve to 2-0, while the Bears slip to 1-1.
Seniors Julia Simmons and Taylor Cappello notched goals for William Smith with first-year goalie Amy Feda recording four saves in the cage. Senior Margaret McConnell made the critical defensive save.
Senior Jenna Stover recorded the Ursinus goal with sophomore goalie Danielle DeSpirito making two saves in 67 minutes of work. The Bears played the final 2:53 of the match with a kicking back-a field player that retains goalie privileges-in a fruitless effort to even the match.
Tied at halftime, Ursinus came out of the break with all of the momentum. The Bears pounded the ball into the Herons’ defensive zone, but time and again, the visitors were stymied. Ursinus outshot William Smith 8-2 in the final 35 minutes, but the Herons withstood the pressure.
The turning point of the match was McConnell’s big play. The Bears lined up for a penalty corner in the 54th minute. Sophomore Megan Keenan blistered a shot from the top of the arc that beat Feda to her left, but McConnell, with her heels on the goal line, caught the blast with her stick, clearing it off the line.
In the 63rd minute, William Smith managed just its second shot of the half and made it count. The Herons worked the ball into the circle from the right of the cage. A pass toward the opposite side was deflected up into the air by senior Amy David. Cappello was about 3 yards off the back post and got a stick on the ball, flipping it over DeSpirito and into the cage for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
From there, William Smith weathered four more Ursinus penalty corners to seal the victory.
The Herons grabbed the early lead when Simmons finished a long cross from junior Caitlin Moran for a 1-0 lead at the 7:32 mark. Ursinus equalized on a penalty corner in the 20th minute. Stover’s shot deflected off a William Smith defender’s stick to draw the visitor’s even.
The Bears owned a 13-6 advantage on shots and a 12-4 edge in penalty corners.
William Smith will be back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 10, when the Herons host Geneseo State at 7 p.m. Ursinus will look to rebound on Saturday, Sept. 14, when the Bears open Centennial Conference play, hosting Gettysburg at noon.