GENEVA, N.Y. – The Ursinus College field hockey team erased a pair of deficits in a nationally ranked showdown at William Smith on Saturday, but the third was too much to overcome as the Herons held on for a 4-3 victory.
Hannah Wood scored all four goals for No. 20 William Smith (3-1), which edged the Bears by a goal for the third straight meeting in Geneva.
Sophomore Gemma Dufoe opened the scoring for No. 7 Ursinus (1-2), while classmate Erin Saybolt and junior Bridget Sherry produced their first goals of the season. Freshman Gabriela Howell recorded an assist for her first career point.
The Bears fell behind twice in the first half, the first coming less than three minutes in when Wood blasted a penalty corner insert past junior goalie Jules Singer for an early 1-0 advantage. Dufoe responded with a brilliant individual effort, dribbling into the arc and beating the Herons keeper to the left post at the 13:36 mark for her third goal of the season.
Wood found the back of the cage for a second time about three minutes later, but Ursinus cashed in on a corner opportunity for another equalizer. This time, Saybolt connected on a blast from the top of the arc on a feed from Howell, who picked up her first collegiate point when the shot zipped past Emily King and in for a 2-2 deadlock at the 18:03 mark of the period.
The Bears dodged a bullet right out of the halftime break, as Wood carried deep into the circle off the opening possession and rifled a shot just wide of the left corner of the cage. Ursinus was not so fortunate later on in the stanza, when Wood took a corner at the top left of the arc and slammed a powerful shot into the lower left corner of the cage to finish off her hat trick and give the Herons a third lead, 3-2.
Less than three minutes later, William Smith doubled its advantage, and again it was Wood doing the honors. Sierramarie Fitzergald's pass snuck past an on-rushing Singer and Wood was there to run it undefended into the cage for a 4-2 lead with 20:44 to play.
Ursinus pulled one back when Sherry converted a penalty stroke with 13:40 remaining. The co-captain beat the keeper to the left post, lifting a shot to about the same spot she used to clinch the Bears' overtime victory over Franklin & Marshall in last year's Centennial Conference championship game.
The Bears had one final chance on a penalty corner with less than two minutes to go, but Alexandra DeVito managed to kick Saybolt's one-timer back out, and a second effort went wide as William Smith ran out the clock.
Wood did just about everything for the Herons, taking 10 of their 13 shots and scoring all four goals. Saybolt led the way with five shots for the Bears in an evenly matched affair with a 13-12 shot advantage for William Smith and a 6-5 edge in corners for Ursinus.
Singer finished with six saves for Ursinus, while DeVito made four after coming on late in the first half and King added one.
Ursinus returns to Snell Field for a four-game home stand beginning against Elizabethtown on Wednesday, September 13.