Updated Tuesday Sept. 8: Soccer America ranks the Tribe no. 22 in the country in its latest poll.
William and Mary (3-1) defeated no. 21 Utah (4-2) 3-1 Sunday with the help of a couple of easy goals from senior forward Kellie Jenkins and junior back Katy Winsper. The win was the College’s third straight on the season, and followed a 1-0 overtime upset of no. 17 BYU on Friday.
“I didn’t think we played well in the first half,” Head Coach John Daly said. “They really gifted us a goal then we slacked our defense and then they scored and then they gifted us a goal again.”
The first goal was Jenkins’, and it came in the 15th minute off a through ball from senior midfielder Krissy Vornadore. Utah goalie Hannah Turpen badly misjudged the resulting shot from Jenkins and the College took an early 1-0 lead.
Jenkins’ goal was not the only mistake Turpen would make in the first half. In the 23rd minute, with the score knotted at 1-1, Winsper took a free kick from 18 yards out that bounced over Turpen’s head for Winsper’s first goal of the season and the second of her career.
“It was very important because it really got the momentum on our side,” Daly said of Winsper’s goal. “There was a decent sized crowd here and [Utah] last played on Wednesday while we played on Friday, so we needed to hang in there.”
The momentum carried into the second half for the Tribe. After emphasizing tight play in the midfield at half time, the College marked up on the Utes’ athletic forwards and limited Utah to a total of seven shots on goal. Utah was credited with 26 total shots for the game as compared to the Tribe’s 8, although many of those shots landed far from the goal.
“The shots were ridiculous. The shots were going 15 yards wide,” Daly said. “If you look at the shots on goal, the two teams match up pretty evenly, they had seven shots on goal and we had five. Most of their shots though, [junior goalie] Grace [Barnard] would just watch the ball go wide or over the goal.”
Shot totals aside, Sunday was the third straight quality match for Barnard, who had four saves on the night. Barnard has now allowed only two goals in her last three matches.
The defense has also been impressive, especially due to the absence of junior back Kaitlin O’Connor. O’Connor, a captain and preseason All-CAA selection, did not play in either of the Tribe’s last two matches due to team related issues.
Whether O’Connor returns for the match Wednesday against the University of California-Santa Barbara still remains to be seen according to Daly.
Nevertheless, the Tribe returned home Sunday night with two big out-of-conference wins, which will be important when the College hopes to make a long run come tournament time.
“We’ve got work to do but I think we handled ourselves very well this weekend,” Daly said. “We’re learning each game and a tough schedule early on will help us settle in for the long haul.”