The William & Mary field hockey team won its first-ever conference tournament crown on Sunday, overcoming a 1-0 deficit to defeat No. 14 Delaware 3-2 in overtime in the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game.
The Tribe improved to 11-7 on the year, and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while the Blue Hens fell to 13-7 and must await word on a possible at-large bid to the national field.
How it happened
Delaware controlled play for majority of the first half, but the W&M defense played a strong game to keep the Tribe in it. The Blue Hens finally broke through in the 33rd minute, after a shot from outside the top of the circle from Laurien Vink ricocheted off the stick of Femke Strien and in for the 1-0 lead. Despite that goal, freshman goalkeeper Kimi Jones (Virginia Beach, Virginia) made two strong saves and the Tribe defense allowed no goals on four corner attempts.
In the second half, Delaware took another corner, but Jones was there again to frustrate the attempt and spring her team going the other way for a series of corners for the Tribe. W&M broke through with the equalizer in the 50th minute, coming off of another corner. After Cassidy Goodwin (Gloucester, Virginia) sent the ball in, redshirt-senior Estelle Hughes (Newcastle, NSW, Australia) passed it over to junior captain Christie van de Kamp (Midlothian, Virginia) for the shot and the score, her eighth of the season.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Tribe sturck again and took the lead, 2-1. As the W&M attack built, van de Kamp sent a pass over to the back post, where she found classmate Woodard Hooper (Reston, Virginia) lurking for the shot and the goal. It was Hooper's team-leading 12th goal of the season.
After Delaware took a timeout to regroup, the Blue Hens came back on the field with renewed purpose, and forced the attack into the W&M circle. Three penalty corners in quick succession finally led to a goal in the 63rd minute, as Greta Nauck tied the contest 2-2 on a shot from the top. W&M called their timeout shortly thereafter, and despite getting the ball into the attacking end, regulation ended with no further action.
The Tribe was playing in its eighth overtime compared to Delaware's first of the year, and it showed as W&M controlled play from the start, quickly moving into the circle and generating a corner and two shots.
In the 74th minute, W&M earned another corner, its seventh of the game. Annie Snead (Midlothian, Virginia) sent it in to Goodwin, who passed back to Hughes.Hughes, with a defender on her hip, worked around the top of the circle and finally cleared enough space to fire a back-hand shot from in front of one post across to the other post, sliding under the goalkeeper's foot and setting off a mad scramble in celebration. It was Hughes' 12th goal of the year, tied with Hooper for the team lead, and her CAA-best fourth game-winner of the season.
For her game-winning heroics, Hughes was named the CAA Most Outstanding Player of the Championships. She's the first from W&M to ever win the award, and earned her second spot on the all-tournament team. Hughes led W&M ont he weekend with five points on two goals and an assist, and scored the game-winner in both matches.
Also named to the all-tournament team for the second year in a row were Goodwin and van de Kamp. Goodwin scored an assist in the win over Northeastern on Friday, while van de Kamp had a goal and two assists for the weekend.
Freshman goalkeeper Kimi Jones earned her first all-tournament honor, after playing the tournament with a 0.97 GAA, eight saves, and an .800 save percentage.
Find out more on the W&M Athletics website.