NESCAC tournaments: Williams women's soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams looking to bring home league titles
Three Williams College teams will take their next steps toward their NCAA Division III tournaments.
Two teams, the women's soccer and field hockey teams, are nationally ranked and will play this weekend in their respective NESCAC semifinals. The volleyball team will open play Friday night, while soccer and field hockey play Saturday.
For the fourth consecutive season, Williamstown will host the NESCAC semifinals and finals.
That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that while Williams has advanced to the last three championship games, the Ephs have only one NESCAC title in those three years. That came in 2015. Last year and in 2014, the contests ended in ties, with Williams losing on penalty kicks.
The top-seeded Ephs (14-1-1, 8-1-1 NESCAC), ranked third nationally, will play Little Three rival Amherst (9-6-1, 4-5-1), in the 11 a.m. opener. Williams is the No. 1 seed and Amherst is No. 7.
The Mammoths are paced by junior Rubii Tamen and senior Hannah Guzzi, who have combined for 19 goals and 43 total points.
Williams beat Amherst, 3-2, back on Sept. 23. Natasha Albaneze, Victoria Laino and Kristina Alvarado all had first-half goals for the Ephs.
Whatever happens in soccer, Williams should earn another trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Ephs have gone every year since 2007, and last won a national championship in 2015.
In the second game, fourth-seeded Tufts (9-4-3, 6-2-2) will play No. 6 Hamilton (10-4-2, 4-4-2).
Williams hasn't won a conference tournament championship since 2004. Coach Alix Barrale's team is two wins away from breaking that 12-year streak.
The third-seeded Ephs (12-4, 6-4) will play No. 5 Trinity (11-5, 5-5) in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader at top-seeded Middlebury.
Libby Dolan leads the Ephs with 17 goals, five of them game-winning scores.
Williams is making back-to-back trips to the semifinals for the first time since 2004-05. Barrale's team is 8-2 in its last 10 games.
Trinity lost to Williams in the season opener. That score was 3-2 in Hartford, Conn.
In the opener, the Panthers (14-2, 9-1) will play No. 7 Bowdoin (10-6, 5-5). This marks the fourth consecutive season Middlebury has hosted the semifinals.
Three of the nation's top 20 teams are in this semifinal. Middlebury is ranked second, Williams is seventh and Trinity is 17th.
The NESCAC volleyball tournament is at Tufts this year. The Jumbos earned the No. 1 seed, while Williams is No. 7.
The Ephs (11-11, 5-5) will play second-seeded Wesleyan (18-5, 8-2) in Friday's first match. The Ephs have not won a NESCAC title since 2014.
Wesleyan scored a 3-0 win over Williams in the regular-season opener, but the Ephs have gone 3-0 against the Cardinals in tournament play.
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter and 413-496-6253.
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