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Women's Soccer


Hannah Withiam '16 and Meg Alexander '15 lead the Hamilton College women's soccer program into its third year in the NESCAC. Alexander was a second team all-conference pick in the back and Withiam is the leading returning scorer with six goals and 15 points in 2012. They are two of nine returning starters that aim to get the Continentals past the NESCAC championship quarterfinals for the first time. Hamilton has made 13 trips to the postseason in the last 14 years. Two-time all-region selection Alex Rimmer '13 will be missed as she graduated as the program's all-time leading goal-scorer with 37. Three-year starters Liza Gergenti '14, Jacqueline Winter '14 and Lauren Brady '14 are the three seniors on the roster.

The Continentals compete in the NESCAC and play all 10 of the other conference teams. The NESCAC tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championship. In 2012, four NESCAC teams competed in the championship and three advanced to the second round. Two NESCAC programs have played in the NCAA championship game, and nine have appeared in the national tournament. The Continentals host Bates College (Sept. 14), Wesleyan University (Sept. 28), Amherst College (Oct. 5), Colby College (Oct. 19) and Tufts University (Oct. 26) in conference play. Hamilton has been nearly unbeatable at home with a 61-10-10 record since head coach Colette Gilligan arrived in 2002.

In addition to Withiam, Hamilton is counting on offensive production from Becca Rees '16, who tied for third in the NESCAC with six assists in her rookie year. Rees was especially effective on corner kicks and finished 2012 with 10 points. Halle Becker '15 was next with three goals and two assists for eight points, and Victoria Freeman '16 found the back of the net three times.

The Continentals are solid in the backfield with Alexander, Winter and Emily Foley '16. Gergenti played all but 24 minutes in goal last year and posted five shutouts. She owns a 0.98 goals against average and an .824 save percentage with 14 shutouts for her Hamilton career.

The Continentals opened 2012 with five straight victories, including three against NESCAC competition. Hamilton eventually finished the season with an overall record of 9-5-1 and was fifth in the conference standings with a 5-4-1 mark. The Continentals dropped a heartbreaker at Bowdoin College in the NESCAC championship quarterfinals by the score of 3-2.

In their first year in the NESCAC, the Continentals either won or tied half of their 10 conference games and earned the sixth seed for the 2011 NESCAC Championship. The Continentals played No. 3 seed Williams College to a 1-1 draw in the quarterfinals, but the host Ephs advanced to the next round on penalty kicks. Hamilton blanked Middlebury College 1-0 on Oct. 8, and Middlebury went on to reach the third round of the NCAA championship.

Hamilton capped 2010 with the third NCAA championship appearance in team history. Hamilton, which finished the year with a record of 10-4-3, shut out Virginia Wesleyan 1-0 in the first round before the Continentals lost to host Johns Hopkins University in the second round. Hamilton has a winning overall record in 30-plus years of women's soccer, and the Continentals have averaged nearly 10 victories in Gilligan's 11 years.

Hamilton wrapped up its 16-year association with the Liberty League in 2010 by playing in the four-team league championship for the eighth time in nine years. Hamilton advanced to the championship game three times, including 2004, when the Continentals hosted the event and came from behind to dramatically edge William Smith College in double overtime. Hamilton claimed one league championship (2004) and two regular season titles (2004, 2007).

The Continentals enjoyed one of the finest seasons in program history in 2007, when they posted their first unbeaten regular season with a record of 13-0-1. Hamilton went on to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA championship for the first time. After the season was finished, the team had set program records for most wins (16) and most goals (55), and was ranked first in the nation with a save percentage of .917. The team's record was 16-2-2, which was good enough to be ranked No. 7 in the final Top 25 coaches poll. The ranking was the highest in program history.

November of 2007 brought two of the most thrilling athletic moments to The Hill. The first one occurred at Love Field, where the Continentals played Tufts University to a 2-2 tie through 110 minutes in the second round of the NCAA championship. Hamilton advanced to the next round due to a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks. The next hurdle was an undefeated Williams team on its home field. Undaunted, the Continentals grabbed a 2-0 lead early in the second half, and hung on for one of the school's biggest victories in any sport.

A bevy of individual awards followed that season's success. Megan Brousseau '08 led a defense that allowed just 12 goals and recorded 10 shutouts in 20 games. She joined goalkeeper Jen Munoz '04 as the only All-Americans in program history. Brousseau was voted to the second team. Gilligan was selected the New York Region's coach of the year, and along with assistants Patty Kloidt and Amanda Nobis, was named the league's coaching staff of the year for the third time. Three players made the all-region team and eight received all-league honors.

2004 was the season that put the program on the Division III women's soccer map. Hamilton finished 15-2-1, captured its first league regular season and tournament titles, made its first NCAA appearance and claimed its first tournament victory. The Continentals also found themselves nationally ranked for the first time as they climbed as high as a tie for No. 8.

Women's soccer has made a total of 16 postseason appearances, including six straight in the league championship from 2002 to 2007. The Continentals have won 10 or more games in a season six times. Munoz was a first team All-America selection after 2003, when she posted a program-record nine shutouts. She boasted a 0.51 goals against average along with a .900 save percentage as Hamilton went 9-3-3.

Academics is an important piece of the women's soccer program. Kendra Wulczyn '10 was elected to the Epsilon chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which is the nation's oldest honor society, in 2010. Erica Dressler '09, who graduated in second place on the program's career goals (34) and points (81) lists, earned two impressive academic awards in 2008. Dressler was voted to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's Soccer Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America, and made the NSCAA/adidas Collegiate Scholar All-America Team. Seven student-athletes earned 2012 NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team honors.