On Saturday afternoon, fans saw just how high the Herons soccer and field hockey teams can soar. Both teams battled through back-and-forth games to clinch wins in their respective Liberty League Tournaments and automatic bids in upcoming NCAA Tournaments.
With nearly 1,000 fans watching at Cozzens Field, the William Smith soccer team snagged their win over Hamilton College with just over five minutes left on the clock. The game-winning goal was scored by the 2007 Liberty League Rookie of the Year, Brelynn Nasypany '11. The lone goal of the game came after 84 minutes, 55 seconds of scoreless, back-and-forth action. Sophomore Megan Stevens passed the ball to Nasypany in the middle of the box, who turned and ripped a shot into the upper left corner of the net from 12 yards out. The goal was Nasypany's 13th of the season.
The Herons defense, led by Liberty League Player of the Year senior Tracy Stankavage, all-league selections senior Leigh Williamson and junior Ali Art allowed the Hamilton Continentals just seven shots throughout the game. The strong defensive effort was complimented by First-year Herons goalkeeper Alice Binns' six saves in her seventh shutout of the year.
Soon after Herons soccer victory, the Heron field hockey team found themselves down 1-0 to Skidmore College. Trailing with less than 17 minutes remaining and facing heavy offensive pressure from Skidmore (13-5), William Smith Head Coach Sally Scatton called a timeout. The tactic worked, as the Herons worked their way into the attacking zone where junior Jamie Tucciarone (Clinton/Clinton, N.Y.) got two chances at tying the match in the 59th minute and made the second one count.
Seventy-one seconds into the overtime period that followed, William Smith College sophomore Kaitlyn Hamilton scored to lift the Herons over Skidmore College 2-1.
William Smith's defense also came up huge on more than one occasion to keep the Herons close. Juniors Charlotte Styer and Leila Higgins both made defensive saves during the game, supporting goalie Katie DeKraker's '09 recorded four saves to earn the win. The title is William Smith's fourth consecutive and ninth overall since the League was founded in 1995.
This Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 4:00 p.m. on McCooey Field, the Herons field hockey team will host their first round NCAA Division III Championship game against Keene State.
William Smith will also host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament, Nov. 10-11. The fifth-ranked Heron soccer team will take on Worcester State on Saturday at 11 a.m. on Cozzens Field, followed by Union vs. Elizabethtown at 1:30 p.m. The winners will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m.