Middlebury, Vt. – Senior co-captain Kelcie Finn (Weymouth, Mass.) scored her third goal of the afternoon 1:08 into overtime to lift the Trinity College Bantams to a 3-2 victory over the Williams College Ephs in the semifinals of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Kohn Field on the campus of Middlebury College. No. 5-seed Trinity advances to the championship game tomorrow where they will square off against tournament host and top-seeded Middlebury at noon. The Bantams improve to 12-5 on the year with the win while No. 3-seed Williams falls to 12-5 overall. Trinity will play in its first NESCAC title game since 2009 when it hosted the tournament and lost to Tufts University in the finals.
The 17th-ranked Bantams wasted no time getting things going, scoring just 3:34 into the first half in the re-match of last fall's NESCAC Quarterfinal game in Hartford. Finn found the back of the cage for the first time of the afternoon when she rifled a shot from about six yards out that beat Williams starting goalie Abby Lloyd (Hightstown, N.J.) just inside the far post.
Trinity doubled its lead at the 18:06 mark when Finn blasted a shot from just inside the arc on a penalty corner for her second of the game. Sophomore Nicole Quinlan (Duxbury, Mass.) inserted to rookie Ellie Tate (Carlisle, Pa.) who set the ball, both earning assists on the play. Williams had its best scoring chance of the opening half in the final minute when a shot by Emma Ticknor (Madison, N.J.) was saved by Bantam starting goalie Lori Berger (Scottsdale, Ariz.), as the Bantams held a 2-0 advantage at the halftime break.
After the intermission, Williams, ranked No. 7 in the nation, responded with a goal 3:41 into the action on a penalty corner. Hannah Goodrick (Darien, Conn.) inserted the ball to Alex Bennett (Rye, N.Y.), who blasted a shot from the top of the circle and into the back of the cage to make it a 2-1 game. Just over 22 minutes later, the duo connected again on a penalty corner in the same fashion, giving Bennett her 16th goal of the season, and tying the game at 2-2 with less than ten minutes to play in regulation.
The Ephs nearly took the lead with less than three minutes remaining, but a quick shot from five yards away by Meredith Wright (Duxbury, Mass.) was blocked away by Berger's pad as the two team's needed overtime to decide a victor.
In the extra session, Finn completed her hat trick just over a minute in to send Trinity into the championship game. First-year Kendall Brown (Greenwich, Conn.) assisted Finn who dribbled down the middle of the field on a breakaway, shook Lloyd, pulled to her right and calmly tapped the ball in for the game-winning tally. The goal is her league-leading 26th of the season.
Berger made six saves in her 12th win of the season in net while Lloyd finished with two stops in front of the Eph goal. Trinity held a narrow 13-12 advantage in shots, while Williams possessed a 7-6 edge in penalty corners.