Click photo to enlarge
Williams’ Alison Magruder, left, races Amherst’s Mel Stier to the ball during a scoreless tie between the Ephs and Lord Jeffs on Saturday.

WILLIAMSTOWN -- When Williams midfielder Carla Nicasio let loose with a second-half shot from 25 yards out in the final 20 minutes of regulation, it looked like the Ephs would finally get a home win against archrival Amherst.

Instead, Amherst goalkeeper Holly Burwick punched the ball over the crossbar and out of danger. From there, the two teams battled to a 0-0 draw Saturday afternoon at Cole Field.

"I wondered whether it would clear the goal or go in. It felt good," Nicasio said. "[Burwick] was on a team I played on growing up [in Connecticut]. She’s a great goalie. She’s short [5-foot-7] but she can get up there."

Williams (2-1-2, 1-1-1 in NESCAC) last beat Amherst (2-0-2, 1-0-2) on Cole Field in 2008, taking a 3-2 overtime win in the NESCAC Tournament.

On Saturday, the teams played 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods and settled nothing.

While the result wasn’t what Williams coach Michelyne Pinard or Amherst coach Jen Hughes were looking for, Pinard said she was more than satisfied with the effort.

"I’m really, really proud of the fight in us. I thought it showed for 110 minutes," said Pinard. "I thought we executed our game plan. We possessed the ball, we got in behind. I think we need to take our chances and finish them when we can."

It was about as even a contest as one can find.

Williams outshot Amherst 13-12 and each team had six corner kicks. Williams goalkeeper Hannah Van Wetter made seven saves, including four in the first half. Burwick, who has not given up a goal in four games, had five saves to register the shutout.

For her part, Hughes said keeping a clean sheet for the fourth consecutive game was one of the positives to take out of the contest.

"We’re working hard to get clean sheets," she said."

Williams’ offense put some pressure on the Amherst defense midway through the second half. First it was Gabby Suarez who tested Burwick and then after the Jeffs cleared Mai Mitsuyama’s corner kick out of the box, Nicasio sent her shot toward the net.

"Those lofted balls to the upper 90 are kind of scary," said Hughes. "That’s why you have good goalkeeping. She made a great play."

In the first overtime, Williams forward Alison Magruder was putting offensive pressure on. The junior from St. Louis found herself at the top of the box and ripped a shot that just missed at the left-wing post. She had two shots go wide in the first overtime, and then was caught offside early in the second extra period.

Van Wetter defended an Amherst corner kick by Emma Rothkopf in the 103rd minute and made a save on a shot by Chloe McKenzie five minutes later.

Williams’ last chance came with 2:05 left in the second overtime, as freshman Audrey Thomas got behind the Amherst defense and fired a shot that Burwick caught.

After losing to Trinity last weekend, the Ephs have rebounded with a 1-0-1 week.

"We’ve been working on fighting and just having that passion and emotion, and I think that really showed today," said Nicasio, a senior from Rowayton, Conn. "Obviously, we would have liked to pull out the win. We just have to take care of our chances and finish those and I think we’ll be good."

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.