William and Mary entered its slate of weekend matches against James Madison and Virginia Commonwealth seeking to further solidify its perch atop the conference standings with the CAA Championships looming in two weeks.
The College (14-2-2) extended its winning streak to 10 games with a 3-1 victory over the Dukes Friday in Harrisonburg, only to see that streak snapped Sunday in a 1-0 loss to VCU in Richmond.
Sunday’s match against the Rams featured a sluggish first half performance by the College, from which they would never recover. VCU recorded six shots in the opening stanza, while the Tribe mustered just two attempts.
While VCU’s Maren Johansen launched the first shot of the game at the 4 minute, 41 second mark, the Tribe had two chances to convert shots into scoring chances. Senior defender Diana Weigel placed a solid shot with 9:35 elapsed, only to have VCU goalkeeper Kristin Carden protect the Rams from giving up a score. Junior Audrey Barry registered another shot for the College at 22:22, only to see it miss wide.
Just as the first half was coming to a close, VCU’s offense erupted in a flurry of activity. With 10 minutes remaining, the Rams ushered the ball deep into Tribe territory. VCU’s Courtney Conrad took a shot at the 31:32 mark, and the attempt was blocked by Tribe junior goalkeer Katherine Yount.
Yount’s block was never corralled by the Tribe defense, and instead landed back in the clutches of the VCU attack. 25 seconds later, Conrad received the ball again by way of Taryn Cressy and Carly Edgcomb, and took full advantage of her second chance — slipping the ball past Yount to give the Rams the decisive 1-0 goal.
The College was much more aggressive in the second half, recording seven shots to VCU’s five, but the offensive revival was to no avail, as Carden made five saves to shutout the College.
While the Tribe offense underperformed Sunday, the squad’s attacking corps displayed much more ability Friday against JMU.
Sophomore Erin Liberatore provided the first goal of the evening at the 11:02 mark in the first quarter, on an assist from junior forward Cortlyn Bristol and sophomore midfielder Dani Rutter. Liberatore’s shot — from 9 yards out — hit the left post and spun in.
From there, freshman forward Emory Camper gave the Tribe a 2-0 cushion with a late second half goal off of another assist from Rutter.
Midway through the second half, Weigel provided another goal in the form of a 26 yard free kick that sailed past the goalkeeper into the upper right corner of the net. While Wiegel’s goal effectively sealed the game for the College, JMU’s Dana O’Brien ensured that the Dukes would not be shut out with a goal three minutes before the end of the half.
Despite the loss to the Rams, the College had already clinched the regular season conference championship, and as the No. 1 seed, will host the CAA Tournament on Nov. 3-6.