Field Hockey: College propels past Dukes, 5-2 Family Weekend victory

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Friday, Oct. 4 at Busch Field, William and Mary continued the season with an impressive 5-2 victory against visiting James Madison. The Dukes (4-6, 0-1 CAA) dominated in the early stages, but ultimately the Tribe (4-5, 1-0 CAA) defense proved to be too powerful alongside a prolific offensive performance.

The Tribe came into the game after dropping a heartbreaking match to Longwood at home on Tuesday evening. This marked the first match of Colonial Athletic Association play, and both teams looked to get off to a strong start. Last season, the Tribe won the conference, and it is looking to continue that dominance in 2019. This year marked the first year in the College’s history that it was ranked atop the conference to start the season. Senior midfielder Christie van de Kamp, the Preseason CAA Player of the Year, has led the Tribe so far this season, with three goals and several decisive plays.

The match got off to an even start, with both teams trading possessions in the first few moments. Sophomore goalkeeper Kimi Jones started for the Tribe, recording three saves in the first 10 minutes of action. However, just eight minutes into the match, the Dukes found themselves with their first chance to score. The decisive corner shot slipped wide, and the Tribe avoided the first obstacle of the game. The Dukes came out hot in the first quarter, outshooting the Tribe 5-1.

Action heated up in the second quarter, with a pair of goals scored in the early stages of the period. Two minutes and 42 seconds into the quarter, sophomore midfielder Cara Menges took a dribble at the top of the circle and sent a screaming shot past a flat-footedDukes Kylie Leblancto open the scoring for William and Mary. The Dukes responded quickly, and less than four minutes later, forward Miranda Rigg sailed her first shot of the evening into the top of the goal past Jones to tie the game at 1-1 with 8:47 to go before the half.

The Tribe wasted no time getting after the JMU defense in the second half. Just 1:07 into the period, Tribe junior forward Ashley Drum found herself inches away from the goal, but the shot ultimately went wide right. The Tribe would get another chance 2:41 into the half, when Tribe senior midfielder Cassidy Goodwin poked in a corner shot to take the lead for the Tribe. It marked the first goal of the season for the veteran from Gloucester, Virginia. Just one minute later, the Dukes responded with a clutch shot from Dukes midfielder Emily Harrison. Knotted at 2-2, the intensity inside Busch Field started to ramp up as both teams could sense the importance of this crucial CAA opening game. With just under six minutes to go in the period, the Tribe took the lead for the third time in the game when Tribe junior forward Melanie Strik took a pass fromMengesand placed it into the back of the net for her second goal of the season.

As the second half wore on, the Tribe started to exert its dominance over the Dukes, taking the lead in the shot margin 16-13 in the third period. Jones continued her strong performance with five saves at the end of the quarter. With just 3:29 left in the period, senior forward Woodard Hooper scored her third goal of the season to take a decisive two-goal lead at 4-2. The College again won a penalty corner with 1:42 left in the quarter, but the shot was blocked by Leblanc, leading to another corner for the Tribe. That penalty corner led to a critical goal from senior midfielder Annie Snead, who placed the penalty in the back of the net for her first goal of the evening. After the wild third period, the College held an impressive 5-2 lead over the Dukes.

The fourth quarter got off to a tame start compared to the theatrics of the previous period, as both teams traded possessions and shots in the first ten minutes. The reality of victory began to sink in for the College. As the defense shut down the Dukes throughout the quarter, it became apparent who the winner would be at the end of the night. A dashing Duke down the far sideline with three minutes remaining proved to be the only true threat of the quarter. With one minute to go, the Tribe defense again stood the test and gave the fans what they came to see: a Family Weekend victory.

At the end of the game, Menges led the Tribe with four total shots, a goal and an assist. Jones finished with five saves for the evening, while five different players scored goals for the College. Rigg turned in the top performance for the Dukes, with a goal and an assist.

Up next, the Tribe takes on Georgetown at Busch Field Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. Next week, the College plays CAA opponent Hofstra in the second conference game of the year. That match will be at Busch Field Friday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. Then, the College will make the quick trip down to Davidson, North Carolina to take on Davidson in a non-conference showdown.