Williams women's soccer advances in NCAA Division III tournament with 3-0 win over Brandeis

Natasha Albaneze ended up with the game-winning goal in Williams' 3-0 victory over Brandeis in the NCAA Division III tournament.
The Williams women defended Cole Field, beating Brandeis 3-0. Danielle Sim anchored the back line.
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WILLIAMSTOWN — When the leaves are gone from the trees and there is a bit of cold in the air, a soccer team's mantra is survive and advance.

The Williams College women did just that this weekend. The Ephs advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA Division III tournament after beating Brandeis 3-0 Sunday on Cole Field.

Natasha Albaneze scored in the 11th minute, while freshman Sydney Jones scored a pair of second-half goals.

"We're always trying to play our best soccer in November. I think we had a great end of October, and our November wasn't what we wanted," said Williams coach Michelyne Pinard. "Today was a good start."

With the win, the Ephs will play either California Lutheran or Pacific Lutheran in the Round of 16. Where and when that game will be played has not been decided yet. Cal Lutheran and Pacific Lutheran had just begun playing at deadline.

"Our class, and actually nobody on this team, has lost on Cole Field," said Albaneze. "That's definitely some pride of ours, to keep that tradition going."

How good of a game was it for Williams (18-1-1)? The Judges (12-5-4) actually had the first really good scoring chance. Brandeis' Sasha Sunday took a corner from right 8 minutes, 45 seconds into the first half, and put the ball in the box near the right post. Julia Matson, a 5-foot-10 forward, headed the ball toward the goal, but it sailed just over the crossbar for a goal kick. Two minutes later, the Ephs made them pay.

Albaneze was on the right wing at a tough angle toward the goal, after a throw in by Jacqueline Simeone. Albaneze's shot eluded Brandeis goalkeeper Frankie Pinto, settling into the far upper corner. Or at least, it got credit as a goal.

"I saw [Natalie turner-Wyatt] and Alison [Lu] in the box, and I tried to cross it to them," said Albaneze. "It didn't quite work in my crossing efforts, but it went in.

"Initially, I was like, 'Wow, that wasn't a very good cross.' Then it was like, wait a second, it might go in."

The time on the goal was 10:58. The last time Williams had scored a goal in the first 11 minutes was back on Oct. 7, getting a goal in the first five in a win against Farmingdale State.

"We've been talking for a while to start playing before it was a game," Pinard said. "Any time we can start with a higher pace, we do ourselves a favor."

Williams took 14 shots at the Brandeis goal in the first half and had four corner kicks. The second-half onslaught continued, as Williams ended up with 29 shots at the net.

Time and again, creative play by the Williams backs and midfielders opened things up for the forwards. The Ephs forced Pinto to make seven saves.

Williams made it 2-0 in the 64th minute. The Ephs had must made wholesale substitutions, and two of those subs hooked up for the goal. Aspen Pierson's shot from about 25 yards out was stopped by Pinto. She could not control the rebound and Jones put it in the net.

Jones did it again in the final 30 seconds, scoring on the rebound of a shot by Georgia Lord.

"Sometimes, yeah, it can be tough just walking around" while the offense is dominating, said central defender Danielle Sim, the reigning NESCAC player of the year. "We're always ready and we're always prepared in the event [Brandeis counters]."

Which the Judges did late. Eph goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill had to be ready to make a save on a shot by Sam Volpe. Volpe got the ball after a Williams giveaway in the back. One minute later, Samantha Schwartz took a shot and Barnhill batted it out of danger.

———

Brandeis     0     0          0

Williams     1     2          3

First Half

W — Natasha Albaneze (unassisted), 10:58.

Second Half

W — Sydney Jones (Aspen Pierson), 63:57. W — Jones (Georgia Lord), 89:29.

Saves — B: Frankie Pinto 7. W: Olivia Barnhill 3.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, and 413-496-6253.     


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