By Andrew Cahill
Following two losses over spring break in Florida to Colby College and Trinity College, the women’s lacrosse team faced another tough opponent upon their return to Schenectady. The 13th ranked Williams College Ephs made the short trip through the Berkshires coming off of a win against RPI and boasting an overall record of 4-2.
The Ephs are very familiar to the Dutchwomen, particularly Union first-year coach Abigail Jackson who graduated from Williams in 2003 and was a member of the Ephs’ lacrosse team when they were NCAA Division III runner-ups. Jackson was now seeking to beat her alma mater and bring the Dutchwomen their first home victory of the season.
Despite the brisk early spring weather, the Dutchwomen appeared to be firing on all cylinders to begin the game. Chelsea Charette ‘11 scored just three minutes into the game to give Union the early edge. The Dutchwomen maintained pressure on the Ephs’ defense for nearly the next ten minutes.
Williams, however, withstood the assault and eventually answered with a goal of their own to tie the game at one apiece. As soon as Williams answered, the Dutchwomen’s offense went right back to work, relentlessly attacking the Williams’ goal cage.
Although the Union Dutchwomen ended the first half leading 3-2 it seemed that the lead could have been much more. The Williams College defense held strong and caught a lucky break when a shot by Kristin Joyce, who already had two scores, nicked off the crossbar with four minutes left in the half.
The low scoring affair that was the first half quickly morphed into a back and forth battle in the second half. After Williams tied the score several minutes in, the Dutchwomen immediately answered thirty seconds later on a goal by Heather Fraser ‘13. Then with the Garnet up 5-3, Ally Boertzel ‘12 made a great defensive play to help trigger a superb transition goal by Charette, her second of the game. For the moment the Dutchwomen seemed to hold all of the momentum in pulling away from the Ephs. A Williams timeout following Charette’s goal, however, seemed to do wonders for both the psyche and play of the Ephs, as they whittled down Union’s lead to 6-5.
The seesaw battle continued as Dutchwomen All-American Joyce scored her hat trick goal to put Union up 7-5. Once again, Williams did not relent and went on a 2-0 scoring run to tie the game at 7 with three minutes left in the game.
Neither side was able to secure the go-ahead goal during the rest of regulation, despite a flurry of opportunities and overtime ensued.
After a scoreless first overtime period, the Dutchwomen found a hero in Casey Dianni ‘11, who received the ball around midfield on a breakaway with only seconds to spare in the second stanza.
While many in attendance at Frank Bailey Field were wondering whether Dianni would be able to unleash a shot in time, the senior appeared to have ice water running through her veins as she coolly netted the game winner as time expired.
The dramatic and hard fought victory over her alma mater was especially memorable for Coach Jackson, and it set a winning tone for the Dutchwomen as they charge into Liberty League play in pursuit of the League title and an NCAA tournament berth.