2008-09 was simply an incredible year for women’s athletics at Williams.  In a still strong but, by Williams’ immensely high standards, relatively down* year for men’s sports, especially men’s team sports (none of which made the NCAA’s or won a conference championship), women’s sports featured a wide variety of noteworthy accomplishments, and carried the Ephs to the come-from-behind projected Director’s Cup victory.  To recap some of the most impressive moments:

(1) Tennis wins its second straight national title by upsetting top-ranked Amherst in the national championship.

(2) Crew wins an unprecedented FOURTH straight national title in dominating fashion — consequently, the seniors graduate without ever smelling second place.

(3) Volleyball overcomes a rough start to the season with a dramatic run in both the NESCAC and NCAA tourneys, beating Amherst for the NESCAC championship and later trumping Wellesley to clinch a spot in the Elite Eight.

(4) Lacrosse makes a Cinderella run through the NESCAC tourney, stunning top seed Tufts before narrowly losing in the conference championship game, making its first NCAA tourney since 2003 in the process.

(5) Soccer captures the NESCAC Championship for the second straight year with a dramatic, come-from-behind overtime win over Amherst, wrapping up two straight years of undefeated NESCAC play, and advances to the Final Four for the second time in its history.

(6) Cross country has its best season since 2005, finishing third at the NCAA tourney.

(7) An incredible three Ephwomen (Lauren Sinnenberg ’10, Logan Todhunter ’12, Joey Lye ’09) are featured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd.  One other current Ephwoman (Amanda Nicholson ’09) was previously featured in that section.

(8) Swimming has its usual strong year, finishing fourth nationally.

(9) Highlighting many notable individual accomplishments, Lauren Philbrook won the national championship in the  10,000 meters among other impressive finishes in cross country and indoor and outdoor track, Joey Lye set a variety of records for women’s softball en route to earning conference player of the year honors, and Logan Todhunter (only a first year) had a record-shattering year in women’s swimming.

Just an astounding body of work viewed in the aggregate.  Congrats to all.

Early prediction: while it will be hard for the women to EVER top this year, next year the Ephmen are inspired to respond in huge fashion by raising their game with (a) another big year from wrestling, (b) at least one national top-three finish (cross country and tennis are top candidates), (c) at least two sports that missed the tourney returning to the NCAA’s (soccer, golf, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, and hockey are all strong candidates to improve), and (d) at least one surprise NESCAC title from a team that hasn’t won in several years.

*Wrestling is the lone exception as the men’s team that exceeded both expectations and its historical performance levels.

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