No. 16 Duke 1, William and Mary 0
Despite a hard-fought game against one of the best teams in the country, the Tribe (3-11, 1-4 CAA) fell just short in a 1-0 loss to No. 16 Duke Friday. The Tribe used stanch defense to slow down the powerful Blue Devil attack, but could not capitalize on its own offensive opportunities.
“I told the team that I felt like the Tribe was finally here,” Head Coach Peel Hawthorne said. “We haven’t been playing very well, obviously, but today I felt like it was a tremendous team effort and we played very well.”
Despite being outshot 14 to 4, the College defense stepped up and allowed minimal Duke success for the majority of the contest. Led by seniors Erica Eng and Jenna Cinalli and sophomores Maria Caro and Sarah Morehouse, the Tribe was able to deny Duke from scoring on any of its nine penalty corners.
“I think we were composed and stayed level headed the whole game,” Caro said. “As I team, I think we did a good job talking and communicating. That’s one of the things we’ve wanted to do throughout the whole year.”
A scoreless first half was largely uneventful as Duke was awarded five penalty corners but was stopped on all of them. The Tribe offense, however, was also ineffective and did not record a single shot.
In the 44th minute, however, the Blue Devils earned the edge. After making what appeared to be a dramatic save off a penalty corner, Duke was awarded a controversial penalty shot. The referee indicated that a Tribe defender had blocked a sure-goal with her leg.
“I know it hit her body — but my point was that it was not actually a shot,” Hawthorne said. “It looked like it was parallel to the endline to me.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Elizabeth Frey, who had three saves on the night, was unable to block the free stroke, which flew past her into the upper left corner of the cage and gave Duke the 1-0 advantage.
Despite the Blue Devils’ score, the College still had two offensive chances in the second half. On a corner midway through the second half, the Tribe earned their only corner of the game. After Duke blocked the initial shot, there was a scrum in front of the goal, but Duke was awarded the ball.
“I thought we had scored. I don’t know where [the ball] was, it was under the goalie or something,” Hawthorne said. “It was about as close as you can get to putting it in the cage.”
The second chance came in the final minute of the game. With Duke playing on its heels, the Tribe made a valiant effort to penetrate past the defenders but was turned back. As the seconds ticked away, senior Kelsey Nawakinksi fired a shot from across the field that deflected off a player inside the circle, but missed the goal by a few feet.
An ineffective offense has become an all too common theme for the College this season. The squad was shut out for the third game in a row and the sixth time this season. They have managed just three goals in their last six games.
“Obviously if we keep working on it and trying to find the solution, eventually we’ll get some [goals],” Hawthorne said. “We’ll have everyone in the right place and [the shooter] will just miss it.”
The Tribe will hope to break out of the scoring slump against another tough ACC opponent when they play at No. 3 Virginia next Monday. Hawthorne hopes the team can carry the positives of the game forward.
“We could’ve won tonight,” Hawthorne said. “But it’s a moral victory if not the whole thing to finally put a game together.”