William and Mary earned a win and a draw in its two games in the Virginia Soccer Nike Classic in Charlottesville, Va. this past weekend. The Tribe (2-1-2) blanked Seton Hall 1-0 Friday evening and battled to a 1-1 tie with Rutgers Sunday afternoon.
The weekend’s games marked the Tribe’s third and fourth one-goal games so far in the season, as well as its third overtime game.
The College struggled to attack in the first half against Seton Hall. Although the Tribe did manage a shot on goal by senior midfielder Dani Rutter in the 20th minute, it mustered just two other shots in the opening frame and rarely ignited a genuine threat on goal.
However, the College’s defense was formidable, not surrendering a single shot on goal in the entire contest to keep its opponents scoreless.
Both offenses markedly improved in the second half. The Pirates were inaccurate but nonetheless imposing after halftime, firing eight shots to keep the Tribe defense uneasy. As the game passed the 70th minute mark, the outcome remained uncertain.
The Tribe offense caught a break when Rutter took a corner kick in the 71st minute. The senior sent the ball to junior forward Emory Camper, who set up sophomore forward Katie Johnston for a header that ricocheted into the net and gave the College a 1-0 lead.
The Tribe defense held strong for the remaining 19 minutes of the game and sophomore goalkeeper Caroline Casey earned her second shutout of the young season. The narrow victory gave the Tribe momentum going into Sunday’s showdown with Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights proved to be a more challenging opponent. They pressured the College from the onset, firing five shots in the first half and 17 in the match overall, including seven shots on goal.
Rutgers struck a blow in the 39th minute when forward Maria Gerew slammed a shot past Casey to give the Scarlet Knights a 1-0 halftime lead. With the Tribe managing just one shot in the entire opening half, it appeared that the Tribe was overmatched by its opponents and sure to fall short.
Casey, however, refused to fade against the constant assault of Rutgers shots. The sophomore, putting together a strong start to her season, stopped six shots in the match to keep the Scarlet Knights from expanding their lead past a single goal.
The Tribe offense finally came through in the second half, when Camper received a pass from Rutter and slipped a shot past the Rutgers defense. After struggling the entire game, the goal gave the College a second wind just 29 seconds after halftime.
The tension of the tie shrouded the rest of regulation. Rutgers had a number of opportunities to seize the win in the second half, but the College’s defense thwarted each chance. When Rutter’s shot in the 89th minute failed to convert, the two teams headed into overtime.
Rutgers dominated the first extra period, denying the Tribe from attempting a shot and sending three of their own. However, Casey stopped the only on-target chance to keep the teams even.
The Tribe responded strongly in the second overtime period, nearly grabbing the game winning goal on Camper’s second shot of the game, but Rutgers goalkeeper Jessica Janosz made the save and sealed the 1-1 draw. It was a moral victory for the College, which was out-shot 17-7 and still avoided the loss.
The Tribe will play a much-deserved three-match home stand, beginning Thursday against George Washington at 7 p.m. at Albert Daly Field.