Field Hockey: The College comes up short against the defending CAA champions

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The College lost a tight contest against the Blue Hens, but it has already qualified for the CAA tournament. COURTESY IMAGE / Tribe Athletics.

Sunday, William and Mary hosted Delaware in a Colonial Athletic Association matchup in which the Tribe (8-6, 4-1 CAA) fell 4-2 to the Blue Hens (10-6, 4-0 CAA).

The Blue Hens came out strong and locked the ball into their attacking half for the opening minutes. They earned two consecutive penalty corners and got several opportunities that were effectively defended by freshman goalkeeper Kimi Jones and the rest of the Tribe’s defense.

The Tribe would pull into the lead for the first and only time during the match in the 10th minute. Sophomore midfielder Ella Donahue scored her first goal of the season with an assist from senior midfielder Estelle Hughes.

Play continued to flow between the two teams until the Blue Hens forcefully attacked in the last 10 minutes of the half and went on a three-goal streak to finish the half.

To start the run, midfielder Tessa Verweijen swung a round hook shot after dribbling along the top of the circle and propelled the ball into the far corner of the cage past Jones in the 27th minute. Three minutes later, defender Femke Strien added a second goal for the Blue Hens with an assist from forward Greta Nauck. Senior forward Lisa Giezeman sent the last goal of the half into the cage from a pass from senior forward Michaela Scanlon.

“I think they turned up their intensity, and we weren’t quite prepared for it then,” junior defender Cassidy Goodwin said.

The Tribe entered the half trailing by two goals and being outshot 13-8 by the Blue Hens.

Junior goalkeeper Morgan Connor entered the match for the second half for the first full half she has played since the Tribe took on VCU in early Sept.

With a renewed energy, Sophomore forward Melanie Strik fired home the College’s second goal of the game from an opportunity created by junior forward Woodard Hooper.

“We made the adjustments that we needed to make [at the half] and then we came back on strong in the second half,” Goodwin said.

In the 52nd minute, the College had an opportunity to even the scoreboard, but a controversial call about whether or not the ball crossed the goal line meant the Blue Hens remained in the lead.

The Blue Hens pulled even farther ahead later in the 57th minute. After some commotion in front of the Tribe’s goal, Connor hit the ground to defend the goal but to no avail as Verweijen drove home the fourth and final goal for the Blue Hens.

The Tribe secured a spot in the CAA tournament following its remaining regular season games with its win against Drexel Friday. Despite Sunday’s loss, head coach Tess Ellis saw the match as benefitting the team with a very fast game of field hockey that integrated some new ideas into the normal course of play.

“Today was a win-win for us,” Ellis said. “Qualifying for the tournament on Friday night allowed us to play pretty free and throw in a couple of new ideas. The lesson we learned last year at conference was that Delaware, at halftime, changed its formation on us. We just need to know that if that happens we can call a time out and the team can adjust rather quickly to make those changes with them.”

The next match will also be hosted by the College against the University of Virginia Friday at 6 p.m.

“We learned a lot playing against them [the Blue Hens] today and we have UVA and JMU next weekend, so we’ll take what we learned from our loss today and apply that next weekend and then hopefully in the CAAs we’ll get through the semifinals and see them again in the finals and use what we learned today to beat them then,” Goodwin said.