The William Smith College field hockey team clinched a playoff berth this afternoon as the Herons defeated Skidmore 3-1 on the road in a crucial Liberty League matchup.
William Smith moves to 9-6 on the season with a 4-2 record in conference play, while the Thoroughbreds fall to 7-8 overall with a 2-4 mark in the Liberty League.
Graduate student Mary Kate Breward led the Herons with three points on a goal and an assist this afternoon. Breward scored the game-winning goal on her lone shot of the contest. Graduate student Kate Barilla and junior Rebecca Mantione each scored a goal in the win, while senior Libby Maxwell chipped in an assist.
William Smith outshot Skidmore 14-4 and held a 9-3 advantage in shots on target. The Herons also held a 12-3 edge in penalty corners in the conference clash.
- William Smith came out strong, applying high defensive pressure on the Skidmore defense early on. The Herons’ best chance of the opening quarter came just 1:11 into the contest as Mantione fired off a shot, forcing the Thoroughbred goalie to make a big stop.
- 11:30 into the first quarter, senior Lauren Jackson came up big for the William Smith defense. Jackson swatted down a ball that beat senior Brittany Foster for her fifth defensive save of the season and 16th of her career, officially tying the school record for career defensive saves.
- Just 3:46 into the second half the Herons would break the deadlock after being awarded a penalty corner. William Smith executed a drawn-up play from the corner opportunity which resulted in Barilla firing a shot past Skidmore’s goalie. Breward was credited with the assist.
- The Thoroughbreds responded in the 51st minute after being awarded a penalty stroke opportunity. Colby Paul fired a shot into the upper right corner of the cage to tie the game at 1-1.
- Less than three minutes later the Herons would strike back, this time off the stick of Breward. Maxwell sent in a ball from a penalty corner to Breward, who fired a shot that deflected off a defenders stick and arched over the Thoroughbreds goalie into the back of the cage.
- With under four minutes remaining, Mantione would give the Herons an insurance goal to extend William Smith’s lead to 3-1. She grabbed possession of the ball and beat two defenders on the endline before turning and firing off a shot low past the goalie. Mantione was credited with her team-leading seventh goal of the season.
- Senior Brittany Foster played all 60 minutes in goal for the Herons, registering one save. Foster moves to 3-2 on the season.
“Tonight we controlled the ball and maintained possession in our attack for a good portion of the game,” said Head Coach Sophie Riskie ’07. We elevated our play each quarter and did a great job controlling the tempo. Lauren had an exciting defensive save, batting the ball out of the air in the first quarter. We executed well off corners with goals from Kate and Mary Kate. To secure the lead, Rebecca put the third goal away along the baseline with 3 minutes left. We’re excited for our final regular season home match on Sunday!”
William Smith will be back in action Sunday, Oct. 22, when it welcomes St. Lawrence University to Geneva to close out regular season conference play. Action between the Herons and the Saints is set for 2 p.m. on McCooey Field with a brief ceremony prior to the start of the contest to honor William Smith’s graduate students and senior class.