Williams repeated as NCAA Division III women's champion, but it needed a third shootout win in its last four games in the 2018 NCAA Tournament to beat Middlebury in a rain-soaked final in Greensboro,
Senior goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill
's save on Clare Robinson
-- her third of the shootout -- gave the Ephs a 3-2 win on penalty kicks after the game ended 1-1
after 110 minutes.
An own goal by the Ephs in the 50th minute allowed Middlebury back in the game after a goal from Aspen Pierson
opened the scoring in the 28th minute.
The previous weekend, Williams beat TCNJ and William Smith, a pair of Division III powers, on penalty kicks in Geneva, New York. The Ephs' only loss of the season was a 1-0 decision to Middlebury
in the NESCAC final.
Williams lost a shootout to Lynchburg in the 2014 final but since then has captured in the 2015 and 2017 titles with 1-0 wins in the championship game in addition to
the 2018 trophy.
"So many thoughts are going through my head, but really just appreciation of this team and how hard they were willing to fight for this," Williams coach Michelyne
said. "Their evolution competitively though the season was incredible. It's really challenging to come off of a national championship and I think there were high expectations. When things
weren't smooth right away, this team had an opportunity to fall apart and they didn't. They stayed tough, they stayed tight, they stayed together."