TRIBE 9, No. 2 U.Va. 10
The College of William and Mary has seen it before: a multiple-goal lead on a ranked opponent late in the game. Despite all the team learned during its Feb. 28 double-overtime loss to then-no. 10 Boston University, the Tribe left too much of an opening against no. 2 University of Virginia Tuesday night in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers took advantage, squeaking past the Tribe in overtime for a 10-9 win.
Despite the loss, College Head Coach Christine Halfpenny was pleased with her team’s performance
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Halfpenny said. “This was our best effort all year, but the difference was that we didn’t take our best shots down the stretch, and we made one too many execution errors.”
The Tribe and the Cavaliers have played every year since 1975, but U. Va. has had the upper-hand recently, winning the last eight meetings after Tuesday’s overtime triumph. Tribe sophomore midfielder Grace Golden, sophomore attacker Maggie Anderson, junior attacker Mary Zulty and senior midfielder Claire Dennis scored 2 goals each on starting U. Va. goalkeeper Lauren Benner. But after Dennis’ second goal put the Tribe ahead 9-6 with 12:50 remaining, the team failed to score again. The Cavaliers capitalized with a furious offensive push and shored up their defense by inserting backup goalkeeper Sarah Hairfield into the game.
With the game tied 9-9 and 1:19 remaining in overtime, Cavalier attacker Whit Hagerman bounced the game-winning shot past sophomore goalkeeper Emily Geary.
“Virginia is a good shooting team,” Halfpenny said. “Our defense, anchored by Emily, had their best performance of the season by far. Our midfielders had its best performance of the season as well.”
Halfpenny called the game a turning point in the Tribe’s season. Fresh from a West Coast trip over spring break, where the Tribe beat the University of California-Berkeley and lost to no. 16 Stanford University, Halfpenny has a good feeling about the remainder of the season.
“This is the best I’ve seen our team since I’ve been here,” she said. “After two heartbreaking overtime losses this year, I have a feeling our team is finally ready to go on a nine-game tear.”
The team’s cross-country trip improved team chemistry, Halfpenny said. Despite simply not having a good day in an 18-9 loss to Stanford, the College rebounded well against California with a 17-11 victory.
“It was certainly an awesome bonding experience,” Halfpenny said.
Next up for the Tribe is former CAA member University of Richmond Monday at 7 p.m. at Albert-Daly Field. The College came close to beating in-state rival Richmond in the last two matches, losing 19-10 at Richmond in 2008 and 10-9 in double-overtime at home in 2007.
“I really want to beat Richmond this year,” Halfpenny said.