May 9, 2009

Still Alive: Hamilton Fends Off Williams, 8-7

from press releases

WATERVILLE, Maine - Hamilton College, the defending NCAA Division III champions, is back in the final eight after holding on for an 8-7 victory over Williams College in a women's lacrosse regional semifinal at Colby College's Bill Alfond Field on Saturday.

Hamilton, which led 6-1 at one point in the second half, moves to 15-2 overall and will take on ninth-ranked Middlebury College in the regional final at Colby on Sunday at 1 p.m. The winner of the game moves on to the NCAA Final Four next Saturday and Sunday at Salem, Virginia. Middlebury took a 9-3 win over third-ranked Colby in the other regional semifinal.

The Continentals kept Williams (13-7) off the scoreboard in opening up a 3-0 halftime lead, but the game became more wide open in the second half. Hamilton, ranked fifth nationally, outscored the Ephs by  a 3-1 margin in the first 6:28 of the second half and led 6-1 when Kate Marek (Alexandria, Va.) scored unassisted with 23:32 to play.

Williams, though, refused to give up and scored the next three goals in a span of 3:14 to make it 6-4. Alice Nelson (Hanover, N.H.) scored twice on free-position shots with 21:16 and 19:51 to play. Tina Nawrocki (Winchester, England) cut the margin to two goals off a feed from Britt Spackman Newton, Mass.) with 18:02 remaining.

The teams traded goals over the next eight minutes. Hamilton's Sarah Bray (Rockville, Md.) tallied with 17:26 left, but Spackman made it 7-5 with an unassisted goal with 10:16 to play. The Continentals got the big eighth goal with 9:28 to play when Marek found Audrey Nebergall (Tiverton, R.I.) charging up the middle on a run and she blasted it in the back of the net.

Spackman got another goal with 7:53 to play off a pass from Kaitlin Ellis (Darien, Conn.) and Julia Nawrocki (Winchester, England) got the score to 8-7 with a free-position goal with 5:47 left. The Ephs had a number of good opportunities over the final five minutes, but could not get the equalizer.

Nebergall had three goals, Bray scored twice, and Kaillie Briscoe (Orangeville, Ontario) had one goal and two assists for Hamilton. Marek added a goal and an assist.

Spackman finished with two goals and one assist for 12th-ranked Williams. Nelson had the two goals on free-position shots.

Williams goalie Julia Schreiber (Cockeysville, Md.) kept the Ephs in the game with 11 stops, including many difficult saves among her seven in the opening half. Kate Fowler (Branford, Conn.) also was solid in net for Hamilton with eight saves.

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