GENEVA, N.Y.—William Smith College first-year defenders Melanie O’Connor (Pope John XXIII/Stockholm) and Morgan Atanasio (Arthur L. Johnson/Clark) were honored by the Liberty League earlier this week. O’Connor was tabbed the Field Hockey Co-Defensive Performer of the Week, while Atanasio earned Co-Rookie of the Week honors.
O’Connor produced a game-winning goal and an assist and played stellar defense in a 3-0 week for the Herons. Along with her fellow defenders, she kept Ithaca off the scoreboard until the Bombers scored on a penalty corner after the final horn sounded in a 3-1 victory on Tuesday. On Saturday against Manhattanville, O’Connor scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 5-2 William Smith victory. She wrapped up the week with a suffocating defensive effort against No. 17 Franklin & Marshall. O’Connor shadowed the Diplomat’s leading scorer Eileen O’Reilly (3.0 ppg) and limited her to a single assist in the 2-1 Heron win.
William Smith’s stopper back, Atanasio also played strong defense last week. Her defensive save against Ithaca in the 11th minute prevented the Bombers from taking an early lead. On Saturday against Manhattanville, Atanasio and the backline limited the Valiants to just four shots and then held No. 17 Franklin & Marshall to just a single goal on 12 shots on Sunday, handing the Diplomats their first loss of the season.
Ranked 19th in last week’s coaches poll, William Smith will begin conference play on Friday, Sept. 24, when the Herons visit No. 13 Skidmore (3-1, 1-0).
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