Women’s Soccer: Tribe tops American University in season opener

Courtesy Image / Tribe Athletics

In the first match of the season, William and Mary (1-0) took home a win against American (0-1) on the road. For its 2-1 victory, the Tribe saw 15 shot attempts and 6 shots on goal to the Eagles’ 6 and 3, respectively. The win sets a promising tone for the rest of the 2021 season.

The game was scoreless until the 28th minute. Despite the nil-nil score, the Tribe claimed the Reeves Field pitch as its own from the start. Eagle goalie Julia Kato faced two shots and one shot on goal from Senior forward Caroline Monahan alone, making her first save. The American offense, on the other hand, contributed nothing to the box score, except two fouls.

The foul on Eagle’s Asia Horne — a tackle during a Tribe cross-field offense pass — resulted in a penalty kick. Junior midfielder Kayleigh Shackleford took the kick. She arced the ball past Kato for the Tribe’s first goal.

The Tribe continued its offensive push in the second half of the first period, but failed to score another goal. They recorded two more shots, two fouls and a yellow card to prevent any Eagle momentum. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense, and the Tribe lived up to that mantra by working the ball on the far side of the field. Sophomore goalkeeper Grace Lemley did not face action until the last minute of the first half, when Eagle Alysa Vasquez took a wide shot.

After the brief period intermission, the game’s second half took a grittier pace. The Tribe met the Eagles with fervor, clawing their way towards another goal. However, their new strategy netted three more fouls, another yellow card and no shot. Their newfound push also did not serve to halt Eagle offense. Vasquez forced Lemley to make her first save in the 54th minute.

Both teams recorded another pair of shots apiece, before the Eagles — thanks to Vasquez — managed to convert in the 76th minute. With less than 15 minutes to go, the game was tied.

Following the goal, Lemley managed to make a big save against Eagle Ashley Molz, who assisted Vasquez for the first goal, keeping the game tied at 1-1. The Tribe hoped to capitalize on her defensive effort, and subbed back in Monahan who had rested for fifteen minutes in the half. Twenty seconds after being put back in the game, she scored. Monahan’s five shots, two SOG game was finally rewarded with the stat that counted: a goal.

The rest of the game was uneventful for Lemley and the Tribe defense. As for offense, Monahan took one more shot. Sophomore forward Elaina Longjohn hoped to get her name on the box score as well, with a wide shot and a saved SOG late in the game. However, the final score stayed 2-1.

The two Tribe goalscorers, Monahan and Shackleford, combined for half of the total shots, two-thirds of the shots on goal, and 100% of the goals. Their individual efforts were backed up by a team spurred by passion and drive to win. The victory and strategy to that victory shows promise for the upcoming season.

The Tribe will play next in Blacksburg, Va., against Virginia Tech, where they hope to net another win early in the season. Tech is also undefeated this year (having played one game as well), so the Tribe will look to refine its strategy and gameplay against their opponent.


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