William and Mary needed just one win in its final weekend of the regular season to lock up the top spot in the CAA tournament. Two draws later, head coach John Daly’s squad returned to Williamsburg having settled for the tournament’s second seed.
The Tribe (8-2-6, 5-1-2 CAA) rallied from two goals down for a 3-3 draw against Hofstra (9-5-3, 3-2-3 CAA) before traveling to Boston for a scoreless tie with Northeastern. After dominating the conference, the draws secured a first round bye, but left a sour taste.
The weekend got off to a ghastly start Friday. Hofstra scored 11 minutes into the contest off forward Leah Galton’s close-range shot. The Pride extended its lead in the 40th minute, when defender Ruby Staplehurst’s perfect cross set up another easy goal for the hosts. Hofstra entered the half with the two-goal advantage, placing the College in a difficult position.
The Tribe’s defense struggled, while the offense failed to produce scoring chances. Hofstra out-shot the College 12-2 in the first period and dominated possession. The game — and the Tribe’s hopes of a first-round bye — appeared to be slipping away.
However, the College’s offense roared to life just in time. The Tribe scored just 27 seconds after intermission, when senior forward Dani Rutter fired a cross into the box from the right flank. Freshman defender Clara Lodgson took the pass and cleanly scored her first career goal, cutting the deficit to 2-1 and giving the Tribe a crucial boost.
Junior forward Emory Camper gathered a Hofstra turnover and broke for the goal undefended. Camper scored easily, firing an open shot from 14 yards out and tying the match at 2-2 in the 55th minute. The goal was Camper’s 10th of the year and completed the Tribe’s comeback bid.
The College recorded its third unanswered goal in the 60th minute, when sophomore forward Barbara Platenburg’s shot clanked off the post to an expectant Rutter, who scored to give the Tribe a 3-2 lead. It wouldn’t hold, however, and Hofstra tied the game in the 83rd minute off Brittney Farriela’s game-saving goal. Two scoreless overtime periods later, the game ended in a 3-3 tie.
Although the Tribe’s rally was impressive, the team was out-shot 28-16 and surrendered a startling 14 shots on goal. Sophomore goalie Caroline Casey notched a career high 11 saves but couldn’t come up with a crucial 12th save.
The Tribe quickly returned to action Sunday against Northeastern (5-8-4, 5-2-1 CAA), with the CAA’s second seed and a first round bye at stake. Northeastern created a scoring opportunity five minutes into the game, but Casey recorded the save to keep the game scoreless. The Tribe offense struggled again, recording just one shot and failing to establish control of the ball in the first half.
Both defenses continued to dominate after halftime — it took until the 80th minute for the Tribe to register its first shot of the half. Huskies goalie Paige Burnett cleanly stopped Platenburg’s attempt, however, to keep the game scoreless.
The Tribe caught a break in the 86th minute, when a shot by Northeastern’s forward Haley Sinclair hit the post. Just two minutes later, the Huskies recorded another shot on goal, but Casey came up with yet another save, sending the scoreless game into overtime.
The two squads managed just one shot on goal in 20 minutes of overtime, and the game ended in a scoreless draw.
The Tribe defense and Casey put in an outstanding performance against the Huskies, but the offense was held without a shot on goal for 80 minutes and barely threatened the entire game.
The Tribe ultimately lost the first seed to James Madison, settling for the second slot and a first-round bye.
The College returns to action in the semifinal of the CAA tournament, held in Harrisonburg, Va. Nov. 8. Daly’s squad faces the winner between No.3 Northeastern and No. 6 Delaware, at a time to be determined later.