Women’s Soccer Draws VCU in Thrilling Opener

Tribe Women’s soccer returned to action for the first time since the 2019 season yesterday, playing at VCU in the season opener of W&M’s shortened six-game slate; Head Coach Julie Shackford ‘88 led the Tribe to an exciting 1-1 draw in Richmond.

W&M’s first of two non-conference match-ups was actually supposed to be played on Thursday, but was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Next up was the VCU Rams.

An important point to note, the Rams are coached by former Tribe soccer standout Lindsey Martin.

Since kicking off their 2021 season on February 8th, VCU has gone undefeated. With convincing victories over Liberty, ECU, and ODU, the Rams came into the match on a winning streak, having notched nine goals in three games. 

Slick conditions led to a slow start for both teams. As the squads adjusted to the cold and the rain, VCU generated multiple scoring chances, but the Tribe defense held them at bay.

A VCU free kick was easily stopped by a W&M wall in the 43rd minute, just outside of the 18, to close out the first 45 minutes. 0-0 was the score at half.

The Tribe came out flying in the second. Opportunities from freshman Elaina Longjohn and Ginny Delacruz heightened the Tribe’s momentum early. A promising string of passes in the 52nd gave the Tribe one of its best opportunities of the night when junior Caroline Monahan’s shot just skimmed the far post.

Though W&M’s offensive opportunities hadn’t yet translated on the scoreboard, the Tribe dominated VCU offensively in the second half of the match. 

A corner kick in the 78th minute from W&M was tapped into the back of the VCU net, resulting in the opening goal, but the goal was disallowed due to a collision in the box involving VCU goalkeeper Brecht Haakma.

The Tribe earned the goal back in the 78th minute off of a fantastic finish from junior Addie Puskar, putting William & Mary in the lead. As conditions worsened, the Rams retaliated just two minutes later, putting a ball away into the back of the net. 

With a goal each, the teams headed into overtime at VCU’s Backer’s Stadium. Continuing to brave the pouring rain, the Tribe held VCU off.

Doughty blocked multiple shots in the 97th minute to keep the Tribe in the game, though neither team was able to find the back of the net in extra time, resulting in a 1-1 draw. 

Suffice to say, in their first game since 2019, the Tribe held its own against a very tough VCU team. The Tribe will return to action against the College of Charleston on Saturday, March 13th in Charleston, South Carolina.

Let’s go Tribe!

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