In a battle of two of the nation's top five teams, #3 Williams edged #5 Middlebury 1-0 in the NESCAC regular-season finale for both teams. With the win, the Ephs (13-0-2, 9-0-1) clinch the conference's top seed for the upcoming tournament, while the Panthers (13-1-1, 8-1-1) suffer their first loss of the season and will be the second seed. Middlebury returns to action on Saturday when it hosts a NESCAC Quarterfinal game on Dragone Field.
Middlebury had a good look in the first minute, but a header from Eliza Van Voorhis was denied by Williams' goaltender Olivia Barnhill. The best chance to score in the opening half came from the Ephs in the 15th minute. An errant pass was run onto from 15 yards out by Aspen Pierson, but her shot hit the left post and deflected across the goal mouth.
Williams scored the game's only goal at the 54:08 mark of the contest, less than 10 minutes into the second half. After a restart from 25 yards out on the right side, Pierson struck a ball around the wall and into the top-left corner of the net for her second of the season.
Middlebury's best chance to tie the game came in the 78th minute when Virginia Charman played a pass up to Ellie Greenberg in the box. Greenberg's bid was denied by Barnhill, who came out to challenge that play.
Neither team had any major scoring opportunities for the remainder of the contest, as the Ephs held on for the 1-0 win.
Middlebury held a 9-4 shots advantage in the game, including a 5-2 margin in the first half. Eva Shaw made one save in goal for the Panthers, while Barnhill made five stops for the hosts.
The loss ended Middlebury's record of 14 games unbeaten to start a season.