The once-promising William and Mary season, ravaged by injuries and inconsistency, ended Friday night in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals at the hands of James Madison. The Dukes got off to a strong start in the first half, limiting the Tribe to just one shot and scoring the first goal of the game. Early on into the second period, JMU notched a back-breaking second tally. The two-goal advantage held up, delivering the Dukes (12-4-2, 6-2-0 CAA) to the CAA final and knocking out the Tribe (6-10-2, 3-3-2 CAA).
After a 3-2 victory over Delaware, the Tribe entered the semifinal match against the Dukes marginally healthier, starting senior forward Ryder Bell and senior back Marcel Berry at the same time for the first time since Oct. 27. However, it appeared the College would be without senior forward Antonio Bustamante, the team leader in assists and lynchpin to the Tribe’s offense.
As the game began, JMU took control. The Dukes owned the game’s first two shots and had the majority of possession, limiting the Tribe offense. While Bell fired a shot for the College that was blocked by the Dukes in the 19th minute, the Tribe would not manage another shot for the rest of the half.
The Dukes kept the pressure on, and toward halftime, they converted. In the 36th minute, Dukes forward Carson Jeffris found himself all alone with redshirt senior goalkeeper Sam Onyeador and did not miss, putting the Tribe in a 1-0 hole. The College was unable to respond, and the game went to the half with the Dukes on top.
Early in the second, the Dukes scored a dagger of a goal. In the 55th minute, defender Tom Judge took a through ball from Jeffris and put it home, doubling the Dukes’ lead. The Tribe struggled to get any offensive momentum going, not registering another shot until head coach Chris Norris substituted in a hobbled Bustamante to try to gain a spark of energy in the 69th minute.
The momentum finally turned, but it was too little, too late for the Tribe. Bell shot the ball wide in the 75th minute, and redshirt senior midfielder Graham Guidry had a go that was blocked in the 80th minute. A corner kick moments later ended in another shot attempt by Bell, but that went high. The College did not get another chance as the Dukes closed out a 2-0 victory.
While the Tribe’s season was finished, the Dukes continued to the CAA Championship, where they won a 1-1 overtime thriller in penalty kicks, 4-2. The Dukes will compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, representing the CAA along with North Carolina-Wilmington.