TRIBE 0, JMU 1
The College of William and Mary’s chance to control its destiny within the CAA was took a hit Sunday with a 1-0 loss to James Madison University.
A goal in the seventh minute of double overtime by JMU midfielder Corky Julien sent the Tribe (11-5-1, 6-2 CAA) down into a third-place tie in the conference, forcing the Tribe to look for help in order to secure home-field advantage for the conference tournament. The College is still in position to make the CAA tournament as the top six teams in the conference advance (the Tribe holds down the fourth seed).
The Tribe had survived similar matches in recent weeks. The College’s overtime goal in a win over Hofstra University, game-winning goals in double overtime versus North Carolina State University and the University of Delaware, and two goals in the last three minutes of regulation against VCU had all brought the Tribe back from deficits previously this season.
But it was not to be Sunday, as the College could not resurrect its late-game heroics, which have been emblematic of its season so far. Junior forward Kellie Jenkins tried in the 85th minute, but her header attempt deflected off the bottom of the cross bar. Junior midfielder Krissy Vornadore had the last best chance for the Tribe, but her blast from 10 yards out in the fourth minute of overtime was deflected by a sliding Dukes defender.
Vornadore, along with sophomore back Katy Winsper and senior back Abbey Lauer, led the Tribe attackdown the pitch, keeping the ball in JMU’s half of the field for most of the match. As the match progressed, the College sent more players on the attack, often leaving junior midfielder Sarah Quinlan and sophomore defender Kaitlin O’Connor isolated on the Tribe’s rear flank. But Quinlan and O’Connor formed an impenetrable wall, stopping JMU attacks cold until the 107th minute, when Julien gathered a pass from midfielder Jess Remmes on the right side. Julien pushed the ball past senior goalie Meghan Walker to take a successful shot at an empty net.
A win Sunday would have placed the Tribe in the driver’s seat to finish first in the conference and obtain home field advantage in the CAA tournament. Now, the College must go undefeated in its final three contests and hope for a loss from both Hofstra and JMU in order to finish in first place.
The top six finishers in CAA conference play make the conference tournament, with the third and fourth place finishers each hosting a first round match at their home fields. The first and second place finishers receive byes into the semifinals, which, along with the conference finals, are held at the field of the first-place finisher in early November.
After the match, the Tribe conducted its cooldown, stretching in silence. Not a word was spoken between the players as Head Coach John Daly fiercely and silently stared out onto the empty pitch he had hoped would be the site of the CAA finals.
It still might happen. Only now the Tribe will need a little help.
The College travels to Fairfax, Va. to face George Mason University, who sits in tenth place in the CAA, Friday night in its first step toward reclaiming a spot atop the conference standings.