TRIBE 2, VCU 1
The College of William and Mary took to the pitch seven minutes too early Thursday night due to a mix-up with the Fox Soccer Channel television broadcast. In retaliation, the Tribe made a record-setting crowd and a national television audience wait until the 86th minute to see the College score two goals in the dying minutes of regulation to defeat Virginia Commonwealth University 2-1.
Senior Claire Zimmeck scored on a header from senior back Abbey Lauer in the 86th minute for her team-leading ninth goal of the season. Two minutes later, junior forward Kelly Jenkins buried another service into the box from Lauer into the right corner of the net for the game-winning goal.
“I didn’t think we played well for 85 minutes,” Head Coach John Daly said. “Then we got a great ball in from Abbey, a tremendous header from [Zimmeck], and then Abbey broke again and Kelly kept her cool and finished it.”
Daly went from sitting, to standing, to pleading as he watched the Rams outshoot the Tribe 10-9 in front of a record-setting crowd of 564 fans at Albert-Daly field. A good amount of Daly’s instructions were directed at Lauer, whom he wanted to push up into the attacking third against a sagging VCU defense.
“It’s something I try to do frequently, and it’s something I really struggled with in the first half,” Lauer said. “But in the second half, especially at the end when we really needed the goal, I definitely was thinking get forward and put the balls up there and have two great forwards on the end of them.”
The night did not start as well as it ended for the Tribe even after the beginning of the match was pushed back by the television broadcast. Once the match kicked off, the night didn’t get much better. VCU dominated the first half of the contest and scored in the 62nd minute on a 20-yard blast from forward June Hartman.
Only six saves from senior goalkeeper Meghan Walker and a clearing header from senior back Meredith Brown on the goal-line kept the score from getting out of hand, as Tribe struggled to execute passes and control possession throughout most of the game.
“I think the kids were nervous,” Daly said. “I think they tried to do things they don’t normally do, and I think on occasion [the television broadcast] had some effect.”
Lauer, who leads the team with six assists, agreed with Daly’s assessment while also offering a prediction about the Tribe’s future programming schedule.
“The next time we’ll be on TV will be the final four,” Lauer said with a smile. “That’s what we’re aiming for.”