Sunday, Nov. 5, William and Mary field hockey (11-8, 4-2 CAA) won the CAA tournament, defeating Monmouth (12-6, 5-1 CAA) at Delaware’s Fred P. Rullo Stadium in Newark, Del.
Tribe field hockey’s victory marked the first time since 2018 the team has won the tournament.
“I went into the weekend thinking that this team had the same quality as the 2018 team,” head Tribe field hockey head coach Tess Ellis said. “We had the capability and the confidence in ourselves as a team and as individuals that we could beat anybody in conference.”
With 15 shots on goal and 13 penalty corners, the Tribe played well offensively. This year’s championship game went into double overtime with a 2-2 tie.
Fifth-year forward Lauren Curran scored all three of the Tribe’s goals, including the game-winner in the 75th minute on an offensive penalty corner. Assisted by junior midfielder Pyper Friedman, who inserted the ball, Curran scored with a straight shot from the top of the circle.
Curran scored the Tribe’s first goal in the 33rd minute, receiving a reverse pass from junior forward Kellen Richbourg and shooting from the left side of the circle.
In the 56th minute, Curran scored her second goal off a rebound during an offensive penalty corner. Receiving the ball at the center of the circle, Curran scored on a lifted shot, equalizing the game.
Defensively, senior goalkeeper Maddie George saved six of Monmouth’s eight shots on goal. George also blocked a penalty stroke from Monmouth senior midfielder Nora Goddard-Despot in the 54th minute.
Monmouth did not score any goals on its three offensive penalty corners. Monmouth junior forward Sofia Fouces and graduate student forward Aylin Aufenacker scored the Hawks’ two goals in the 10th and 42nd minutes, respectively.
Before playing Monmouth, William and Mary field hockey defeated Drexel (14-6, 4-2 CAA) on Nov. 3 in the CAA tournament semifinals. The Tribe’s 2-0 shutout in Newark followed a 7-1 loss against Drexel earlier in the season.
Ellis highlighted various changes Tribe field hockey made since the loss.
“We were very aware that it just wasn’t about beating one player on the field, that we had to play the whole team,” Ellis said. “This time, we did a better job of not opening up holes for them to play through.”
Though Drexel earned nine offensive corners during the semifinal game, the Tribe dominated with a strong defensive performance.
George had a season-high 10 saves, marking the third time in her Tribe field hockey career she recorded double-digit saves.
In the 22nd minute, George made back-to-back saves, blocking shots from Drexel freshman defender Pien Elsen and sophomore forward Natali Foster.
After Drexel pulled graduate student goalkeeper Megan Hadfield in the 53rd minute, the Tribe’s defense remained strong. George made another set of back-to-back saves during two penalty corners in the 54th minute, securing the Tribe’s two-goal lead.
Offensively, William and Mary earned five penalty corners. Friedman scored both of the team’s goals in the 15th and 27th minutes, respectively.
During the Tribe’s second offensive penalty corner, Hadfield blocked senior midfielder Allison Goodwin’s sweep from the top of the circle, but Friedman scored the first goal of the game off the rebound.
Goodwin assisted Friedman’s second goal, which she also scored on an offensive penalty corner. After Friedman inserted the ball, Goodwin passed back to Friedman at the post. Friedman chipped the ball over Hadfield, securing the Tribe’s lead.
According to Ellis, the team’s persistence enabled them to win the tournament.
“Like anything in life, you’ve got to fail once or twice before you figure it out correctly, and I think that was part of our season,” Ellis said
Tribe field hockey will face Sacred Heart (9-10, 4-3 NEC) on Wednesday, Nov. 8 in the first round of the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship. The game will be played at 2 p.m. at Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Though William and Mary has never played Sacred Heart in field hockey, Ellis remains confident in the team’s abilities.
“This group of young ladies can play together before a bunch of them graduate and move on into the real world,” Ellis said. “They’re enjoying their time together, and that’s probably been the best part of the championship.”