Women’s soccer: Unbeaten streak snapped

William and Mary’s 12-game win streak finally ended Sunday, when the Tribe lost its second game of a two-match weekend at Martin Family Stadium. The Tribe (8-2-4, 5-1 CAA) fell to visiting UNC-Wilmington Sunday afternoon after dominating the College of Charleston 5-1 Friday night.

The loss sullied the Tribe’s undefeated record in the Colonial Athletic Association. At 5-1, the College sits in a three-way tie atop the conference standings and will likely need to win its final two regular season matches to earn the top seed in the upcoming CAA Tournament.

Junior forward Anna Madden awaits a cross. COURTESY PHOTO / TRIBE ATHLETICS

The weekend could hardly have started better for the Tribe, which exploded for five goals on Friday night.  The College’s first score came in the 31st minute, when senior forward Dani Rutter corralled sophomore forward Barbara Platenburg’s deflected shot and sent a perfect strike into the net. Although it was the only Tribe goal of the first half, William and Mary’s strong defense ensured that the College went into halftime with the goal advantage.

In the second half, the Tribe dominated the Cougars in every facet of the match. The College struck again in the 50th minute, when sophomore midfielder Katie Johnston’s cross into the box was deflected into the net by a Cougar defender for an own goal. The two-goal lead allowed the Tribe to increase its offensive pressure, keeping the Cougars pinned in their own end.

“We definitely clicked in the attacking third; we had good passes, and we had some really great finishes today,” Rutter said.

Just seven minutes later, the Tribe scored again when sophomore midfielder Nicole Baxter took a smooth cross from Rutter and fired a shot into the opposite corner of the goal to move the score to 3-0.

The Tribe extended its lead in the 60th and 69th minute, when two Cougar turnovers set up open shots for junior forward Emory Camper. Although the Cougars finally found a goal off a free kick in the 82nd minute, their attack was largely helpless against an aggressive Tribe defense. Senior defender Ali Heck was pleased with the team’s ability to shut down the Cougars’ offense.

“What we have going for us is our chemistry. … We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and play to those,” Heck said.

The dominant performance Friday made the Tribe’s Sunday defeat all the more jarring.  UNC-W scored in the 17th minute, when Seahawks forward Katrina Guillou drew a foul and nailed the ensuing penalty kick to stake the visitors to a 1-0 advantage. The Seahawks dominated possession for the remainder of the half, holding the Tribe to just two shots before halftime.  Head coach John Daly was particularly rankled by the College’s first half performance.

“We can’t play half a game. We didn’t play in the first half,” Daly told Tribe Athletics. “We started very slowly, we were slow in the midfield. … The key goal was the [penalty kick]; if that doesn’t go in, I feel sure that would go in and we’d win it. That’s the way it goes.”

The trouble continued for the Tribe in the second half, as UNC-W’s Morgan Leyble scored a second goal before the College could even attempt a second-half shot. The strike gave the Seahawks a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute and forced the Tribe to ramp up its pressure to create chances.

The College responded well, mustering a staggering eight shots on goal in just 11 minutes of play. One shot hit the crossbar, a second hit the right post, two were deflected by defenders, and four more were stopped by goalie Carolyn Huddy, who finished with seven saves.  By the time Dani Rutter’s on target header was deflected by a Seahawks defender, UNC-W had survived the onslaught and the upset bid grew more realistic.

The Seahawks added a final goal in the 89th minute, when midfielder Moa Jari charged into the box unopposed and fired a shot past Casey to make the score 3-0. The Tribe was desperately working to score and, unprepared for the counterattack, watched the Seahawks seal the upset win.

The Tribe out-shot the Seahawks 18-15 but was unable to pose any real scoring threat for extended stretches of the game. The loss made for a bitter home finale, marring the senior sendoff.

The College will travel to Hofstra Friday night, then trek to Boston for a Sunday showdown with Northeastern. Northeastern holds a 5-1 record in the conference and stands between the College and a top seed in the conference tournament.


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