William and Mary (5-10, 1-4 CAA) entered Saturday’s matchup against no. 15 Duke (7-7, 0-4 ACC) seeking its first signature win of the season. Instead, the Tribe left Busch Field with a 4-1 defeat.
In its final home game of the season, the College was outscored 3-1 in the opening period, watching as the Blue Devils took 17 shots compared to 8 for the Tribe. Duke controlled the ball for the majority of the game, and the Tribe was frequently left overmatched.
“Duke is a great team. They have a lot of firepower, and they had two incredible goals off the corners that were almost indefensible,” Head Coach Peel Hawthorne said. “We probably could have cleaned up on some of the other shots a lot better, but two of the goals that [hit the crossbar and bounced in] it were a million to one.”
Despite Duke’s commanding first half performance, the College entered halftime with momentum thanks to two crucial plays. With three minutes remaining in the opening period, Duke forward Amie Survilla broke through the Tribe defense, with only sophomore goalkeeper Camilla Hill standing in the way of a potential score. Going toe to toe, Survilla fired a shot and Hill made an improbable diving save.
Shortly after Hill’s save, sophomore midfielder Kelsey Nawalinski provided the only Tribe point of the game with a clutch goal in the last second of the opening half.
“[The ball] was coming off the keeper, and then I just touched it out from in front of her and somehow got my shot out before she had enough time to get back to the far post,” Nawalinski said. “[It] ended up just getting in at the buzzer.”
Following the intermission, the Tribe began with a significant lineup change as Hawthorne replaced Hill with junior goalkeeper Carrie Thompson.“Literally, it was down to the pregame warmups as to who we would pick to start today. We knew going into it that there was a likelihood that we would make the switch at halftime, regardless of the score,”
Hawthorne said. “They have both been playing very well, and they both deserve to play.”
The two goalkeepers combined for 10 saves and 4 goals allowed on the evening.
Compared to the busy first half, in which 4 goals were scored between the two teams, Duke’s Mary Nielsen provided the only point of an otherwise uneventful second half with a goal in the 56th minute. The tally gave the Blue Devils the 4-1 margin of victory and the win.
Afterward, the College concentrated less on the final outcome and more on the effort put forth by the players.
“We played really well. We played as a team and didn’t come out with the win, but we have been building on every game,” Nawalinski said. “We haven’t had a lot of wins, but we have been getting better after each game, and a lot of good things came out of today.”
The Tribe will close out its season with three straight games against CAA opponents, starting with an Oct. 23 matchup against JMU. That game will be followed by road matches against VCU and Old Dominion.