If cockroaches have the best shot of surviving a nuclear apocalypse, collegiate rivalries probably have the second-best chance. Alumni and current students alike quickly accept the timeless hatred against a rival school, allowing the permanent feud to continue its existence for seasons on end. Rare is the opportunity to witness the birth of such a rivalry. Yet William and Mary’s 10-9 overtime victory over Virginia Tech (5-7, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) on Saturday at Martin Family Stadium may contain exactly the necessary elements to forge a longstanding rivalry between the two schools, as the recent history between the Tribe and the Hokies benefits from yet another nail-biting finish.
Virginia Tech has gotten the best of the College (4-4) over the last two seasons, defeating the Tribe 11-10 in 2013 with a save in the waning seconds, and then 12-10 last year. Despite the relative proximity of the two in-state universities, the series record has just nine games between the Hokies and the College. The Tribe holds a 6-3 advantage in the series, but Saturday’s win marks the first overtime game between the two programs.
Despite the close finish, the final score was hardly indicative of the early action of the game, Virginia Tech sprinting out to a 5-0 lead.
“That was a really exciting game,” head coach Hillary Fratzke said to Tribe Athletics. “Virginia Tech really played their game, and we dug ourselves into a hole…But we really enjoyed the way the girls responded out there.”
After starting last week’s game against Connecticut in an 11-0 hole before eventually losing 13-6, the Tribe sputtered in the early minutes of Saturday’s contest as well, allowing four goals in a three minute span from 24:57 to 22:11. After the initial score, the Hokies seized each of the next three draw controls and capitalized on all three possessions, rendering the Tribe offense a non-factor. Fratzke attempted to shift momentum back in her team’s favor with a goalie switch, a tactic that she has not shied away from in the past.
Junior keeper Alex Lista came out at 22:11 as Fratzke sent senior goalkeeper Meredith Crizer into the net. Virginia Tech added one more draw control and subsequent score at 18:11 before the goalie switch started to pay dividends.
“Meredith had a phenomenal game today,” Fratzke said to Tribe Athletics. “Lista has been really solid for us, and some days you just have to make the change. When we needed her to step for us, she did; she really changed the momentum for us multiple times in the game, which we were really thankful for.”
Crizer finished the day with 10 saves on 16 shots on goal. However, she did not turn the momentum right away. Junior midfielder Shannon Quinn initially cracked the Hokies’ onslaught, as Quinn seized a draw control and earned a free position shot opportunity at 17:26. Quinn made the most of the opportunity, at which point the Tribe trailed 5-1.
Each side traded goals over the next five minutes of action, and the College fell behind by five once more with a Virginia Tech goal at 12:08, pushing their lead to 7-2. The score remained the same for the next eight minutes before the Tribe finally found its stride on offense.
Junior defender Abby Junior earned a penalty while clearing the ball up the field, providing her with a free position shot at 4:06. Junior capitalized on the opportunity, setting off a streak of the Tribe scoring to end the half. Quinn struck again, and sophomore attack Abby Corkum then fired a shot in a man-up situation, as the Tribe benefited from the Hokies’ overaggressive defense. The score stood at 7-5 as the teams headed to the locker room.
Virginia Tech notched the first and second goal of the back frame, taking a 9-5 lead with 21:40 up on the clock. After permitting 20 shots in 39 minutes of action, the College defense solidified in this final stretch, holding the Hokies to a quarter of their previous offensive production in over 21 minutes of play. Virginia Tech squeaked out just five shots with no goals for the remainder of the game.
Despite the Hokies winning three of the next four draw controls, the Tribe chipped away at the lead, scoring at 21:01, 15:47, 10:51 and 7:42. Sophomore attack Meghan Brophy earned the first and third goals, sophomore defender Emma MacLeod fired in the second, and sophomore midfielder McKinley Wade scored the tying goal. Virginia Tech’s 12-9 advantage in draw controls (5-2 in the second half) forced the Tribe to play defense before most offensive possessions, making the successful comeback effort all the more impressive.
“The draw control battle … it was theirs, they had it every single time” Fratzke said to Tribe Athletics. “We’ve got something there to work on moving forward.”
After the tying goal, the game continued to be dominated by the defenses. The Hokies only threatened to break the tie, as the College had no shots over the final seven minutes, yet the College defense held firm, withstanding two VT shots to preserve the tie and head to overtime.
After scoring the game-tying goal in the second half, Wade came through in the clutch once again in overtime, as she grabbed the rare draw control for the Tribe to start the overtime period. Though Brophy’s initial shot went wide, the College maintained possession, taking their time to set up a game-winning play. Leading scorer Shannon Quinn stepped up for the Tribe, firing in the winning score with just 5.8 seconds left to play. With the heartbreaking loss, the Hokies’ losing streak extends to five in a row, while the College improves to .500 once again this season.
After possibly creating a new rivalry Saturday, the Tribe heads off to participate in a very old feud, facing Richmond on the road March 23 in Richmond, Va. Start time is set for 6 p.m.