Williams 3    Tufts 2

at Williamstown, MA
Saturday, October 20, 2001

Tufts (8-6, 5-4 NESCAC) 1 1 = 2
Williams (13-0, 9-0 NESCAC) 1 2 = 3

Scoring: W, Marlene Bonasera (Kristen Van Woert) 14:53; T, Lynn Cooper (Elizabeth Tooley) 15:20; T, Brenna O'Rourke (Alle Sharlip) 73:30; W, Stacey Starner (Van Woert) 80:24; W, Claire Samuel (Lindsay Dwyer) 89:36.

Saves: T, Mara Schanfield 11; W, Abi Jackson 4, Lindsay Starner 1.

Shots: T, 8; W, 11.

Corners: T, 3; W, 5.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Williams College women's soccer team culminated a perfect regular-season in dramatic fashion as they came back from a 2-1 deficit with two goals in the final 10 minutes to post a 3-2 victory over the Tufts Jumbos in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play on Saturday afternoon.

Junior Stacey Starner scored the tying goal with 10 minutes to play, then sophomore Claire Samuel tallied the game-winner with only 24 seconds left on the clock. The Ephs finished 13-0 overall and 9-0 in the league. Despite the disappointing loss, the Jumbos are alive and well. They play Amherst in the first round of the NESCAC Playoffs on Sunday (Oct. 21) at Bates. The match kicks off at 1:30 pm.

At Williams, the first half featured two goals within 30 seconds. The first was by Eph senior Marlene Bonasera, and then the answer came from Jumbo senior co-captain Lynn Cooper (Wilton, CT). From there, neither team was able to capitalize on their scoring opportunities in an evenly-played game, until Tufts took a free kick from near the baseline between the corner and the box in the 73rd minute. The ball sailed over Williams goalie Lindsay Starner and Tufts junior Brenna O'Rourke (Bethesda, MD) stepped up to head in the goal and give the Jumbos a sudden 2-1 lead.

The crowd became loud and anxious, and the intensity of the game grew, as everyone involved knew Williams' perfect regular-season was on the line. The Ephs' break came when a header from sophomore Kristen Van Woert bounded in front to Starner. The team's top goal scorer each of her three years at Williams, Starner calmly put the ball under diving Tufts goalie Mara Schanfield (St. Paul, MN). Just as the game seemed ready for overtime, Williams first-year Emily Driscoll was able to reach out and keep the ball in the zone, high in the air. First-year Lindsay Dwyer touched the ball with her head over to Samuel, who pushed a left footer into the net.

Williams has earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament, finishing three games ahead of second-place Middlebury. The semifinals and finals will be played at Cole Field in Williamstown. The semifinals will take place at 11 am and 1:30 pm on Saturday, October 27, with the final set for noon on Sunday, October 28.

The #2 through #7 seeds will play tomorrow, October 21, at Bates College, in an attempt to earn a place in the semifinals. Those games will be as follows: No. 2 Middlebury (6-3-0, 10-4-0) vs. No. 7 Trinity (3-6-0, 7-7-0), 11:00 a.m., No. 3 Amherst (5-3-1, 8-4-1) vs. No. 6 Tufts (5-4-0, 8-6-0), 1:30 p.m, and No. 4 Bowdoin (5-3-1, 10-3-1) vs. No. 5 Bates (5-3-1, 10-3-1), 1:30 p.m. Williams will face the lowest seed remaining in the 11:00 am contest.

Tufts, 8-6 overall, will need to win the NESCAC Tournament to gain an NCAA Tournament berth and defend its NCAA New England title won last season. The Jumbos advanced all the way to the national championship game last fall.