As faint droplets pierced through a misty fog last Wednesday at Smith Field, the freshly minted No. 17 Dirty Birds poured a monsoon of goals past the Conn College Camels. The Camels, native to desert lands of the Sahara and Judea, were bewildered by the category five hurricane mustered by the Cards, as Wesleyan won its last game of the regular season, 18-10. A strong season for the Dirty Birds puts the women in a strong spot heading into NESCAC tournament play on Saturday.
Wes started the game with such complete control of the field that it even made authoritarians like Vladimir Putin jealous. The women governed possession in that first half, and Liana Mathias ’17 started her incredible regular season finale with a goal at the 48 second mark. The Cardinals quickly increased the lead to five by the 23:18 mark. The Dirty Birds then stretched their lead to 11 goals entering the halftime break. The streak of unanswered goals by the Cardinals ended at the 1:18 mark with Conn College’s first goal. The Dirty Birds retaliated with four more goals by Mathias, and her senior colleague Rachel Aronow ’17 added three more in the regular season finale.
“The exquisite strategic play of the women’s lacrosse team rivaled the genius of da Vinci performing under pressure like Duchamp creating art while in exile from France,” said Art History-Sociology double major Austin Dhillon ’18. “Pictures of this game will be in an instillation next fall in the MoMA. I’m sure of it.”
The Camels came out strong to start the second half, tallying four of the first five goals of the third quarter to cut the lead to 13-5 with 18:18 to play. Abby Horst ’19 and Mathias quickly reasserted a ten-goal lead by the 16:12 mark, however, with a quick succession of goals. The Camels and Dirty Birds proceeded to exchange goals for the rest of the half. A final score by the Camels’ Lacey Hale with 3:34 ended the comeback attempt. The lead the Cardinals had built to start the game proved insurmountable, and the final score read 18-10 in favor of the home team.
The Cardinals were a perfect 10-10 on clear attempts. They almost doubled the Camels on shot attempts, 34-18. The trusty cohort of Meredith Smith ’17, Julia Black ’18, Julia Gretsky ’20, and Abby Manning ’20 all scored a pair of goals apiece.
“It was a great way to end the season before playoffs start,” said midfielder Elizabeth Spitz ’18. “We started out with fire, setting ourselves up for a win early! We’ve set a school record leaving the regular season with a 7-3 standing.”
With seven conference wins and 11 victories overall, the Cardinals have set a record for program wins. In other impressive stats, the Dirty Birds managed to win four out of eight games against top 20 nationally-ranked programs this season. In her second year at the helm of the program, head coach Kim Williams has brought Wesleyan back to the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since 2009.
The win guaranteed the Cardinals the No. 5 seed in the NESCAC Championships that begin this weekend. They’ll face off against No. 4 Colby on Saturday, April 29 at 12 p.m. The Cardinals lost a hard game against Colby 12-6 at the beginning of April, but since that defeat, the Dirty Birds have set themselves ablaze with momentum, winning five out of their last six games. The Cards’ offense in particular has been clicking over the last five contests; the team found the back of the net over 10 times in four out of its five most recent matches.
“We’re fired up coming into Colby for the first playoff game, where we plan on coming in stronger than ever after a tough lost to them in the regular season,” Spitz said with a smile after Wednesday’s match. “Colby seriously doesn’t know what’s coming for them!”
The Cardinals’ win percentage has been rising steadily throughout the past couple of weeks as the team has caught the Holy Ghost within them during the win streak. If it’s any consolidation, I have already bet half of my tuition for next semester on the Las Vegas odds for the Cardinals to win.