Women’s soccer: Tribe downs Elon, 2-1

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COURTESY IMAGE / Tribe Athletics

William and Mary returned to Williamsburg for another Colonial Athletic Association matchup after drawing in a road match against Hofstra last weekend. The College was originally scheduled to take on Elon Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., but the match was postponed due to heavy rain and tornado warnings in the area. The Tribe and the Phoenix ultimately played their match at 6 p.m. the following evening. The College (6-8-1, 3-2-1 CAA) relinquished a late lead, but found a late match-winner to down the Phoenix (3-7-3, 1-4 CAA) 2-1 in match where it outshot Elon 17-6.

Neither team was able to generate many opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, so the match was still tied at zero going into the break. The Tribe had the majority of shots in the first half, but the Phoenix had the only shot on goal by forward Tori Baliatico, prompting a save by junior goalkeeper Katelyn Briguglio, last week’s CAA defensive player of the week. The College had five of the other six shots in the first half, but none of them found their target.

The Tribe nearly took the lead right before halftime in the 44th minute, when junior midfielder Charlotte Hyland ripped a shot that beat goalkeeper Valentina Estrada. However, Hyland’s effort ricocheted off the crossbar and back into the field of play. Just seconds later, senior forward Mackenzie Kober headed another shot towards the goal, but it sailed over the crossbar and out of play.

After outshooting the Phoenix 5-2 in the opening period, the Tribe continued to dominate in the second half. On its first shot of the half, the College finally found the back of the net. Redshirt junior forward Sarah Segan threaded a cross to the feet of freshman midfielder Grace Santos. Santos ripped a shot past Estrada, giving the Tribe a 1-0 advantage in the 52th minute. Santos’ goal was the first of her career.

The College had the next four shots after its goal, but was unable to double its lead.

Briguglio made her second save of the match in the 67th minute, but she was unable to stop the Phoenix’s third attempt on goal of the evening, when in the 78th minute the College conceded a goal for the first time since last weekend. The Tribe got into trouble by turning the ball over in the middle of the field. Midfielder Lauren McKeever picked up the ball for the Phoenix and played a ball diagonally to Baliatico, who buried a one-time shot from close range. Baliatico’s goal tied the match, 1-1.

However, the College did not take long to answer back and reclaim the lead. Less than seven minutes later, with just over five minutes to play, the Tribe scored to take a 2-1 advantage. Once again, Segan, the Tribe’s leading scorer this season, played the role of the facilitator on the Tribe’s goal. She played a through ball that Kober was able to run onto, before tucking a shot away just inside the right post. The Phoenix nearly found their second equalizer of the match less than one minute later in the 86th minute. Midfielder Hannah Doherty blasted a shot from distance, but it did not dip fast enough and caromed off the crossbar and away from the front of Briguglio’s net. The Phoenix were unable to muster another shot before the final whistle sounded and the Tribe walked away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

The Tribe’s win allowed it to surpass the .500 mark in conference play and to have some momentum going into another CAA matchup Sunday. The College will stay at home for a match with in-state rival, James Madison. The Dukes currently sit two spots ahead of the Tribe in the CAA, with a 5-1 conference record.

After this weekend, the College will play two more matches before the CAA tournament, which will begin Oct. 26.