On senior day at Martin Family Stadium Sunday it was junior back Clara Logsdon who decided the match, as her goal in the 37th minute was the difference in William and Mary’s 1-0 win over Colonial Athletic Association foe North Carolina-Wilmington.
The first half featured plenty of end-to-end action, as the teams combined to produce 13 shots and six corner kicks in the period. The Tribe (9-3-1, 3-1 CAA) created the game’s initial attack in the third minute. After sophomore midfielder Rachel Moore’s drive was blocked out of play, senior midfielder Nicole Baxter took the corner and found Moore, who once again was denied by the Seahawks’ (10-4-1, 3-2 CAA) defense. Sophomore back Elysse Branton had an opportunity less than a minute later, but she sent her header shot wide.
“We were talking after last game about the need to play hard in the first half,” head coach John Daly said to Tribe Athletics. “And…we played well in the first half, we were connecting, had a couple of good looks and a goal scored.”
UNC-Wilmington grew into the game following the College’s early burst, shooting five times over the next 26 minutes. Seahawks defender Morgan Leyble had a header cleared off the line by the Tribe back line, while senior goalkeeper Caroline Casey put on a clinic, collecting four saves in the first half.
The Tribe breakthrough came off a free kick in the 37th minute. After a foul by the Seahawks, Baxter delivered the ball to sophomore back Haley Kent on the left side, whose cross found Logsdon at the far post. Logsdon deposited her shot in the bottom right corner of the net, her second goal of the season and the eventual game-winner. UNC-Wilmington made a push to equalize before the halftime whistle, but Casey came up with two crucial saves in the last six minutes of the half. After the game Daly commented on Logsdon’s goal.
“Actually I wanted Nicole to serve the ball, and instead she served it out to Haley,” Daly said to Tribe Athletics. “Haley hadn’t been really connecting her passes as well as she can, but she served a good ball to the far post and Clara got in and got a touch on it, so I’m not complaining.”
UNC-Wilmington continued to force the issue in the second half, outshooting the College in the period eight to three. The Seahawks came inches from tying the match in the 56th minute, as forward Stephanie Bronson’s shot beat Casey but not the post, smashing into the woodwork and rolling out of play. Junior forward Kady Kriner nearly extended the Tribe’s narrow lead in the 69th minute, but Seahawks goalkeeper Carolyn Huddy was able to deny her effort.
The College defense maintained its clean sheet in the closing minutes thanks to critical plays from two seniors. When Casey spilled Seahawk forward Madison Melnick’s shot in the 78th minute, senior back Meghan Musgrove hustled to the goal line and cleared the ball away. In the final minute, Casey sealed the 1-0 Tribe victory with her sixth and final save of the match off a vicious drive from UNC-Wilmington forward Olivia Szeker-Cortes.
William and Mary held a ceremony to honor the team’s nine seniors after their final regular season home match. Afterwards Daly commented on the senior class.
“It’s always emotional, especially with such a big class,” he said to Tribe Athletics. “They stayed the course, they stayed all the way through, and it’s been a really special group of young ladies and I’m hoping we can finish off the season correctly to honor them.
The Tribe begins its season-ending five-game road trip Friday Oct. 16 at CAA opponent Drexel. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.