Running footsteps splashed water and mud on Sunday as the UMW Eagles Women’s Soccer Team beat St. Mary’s College 2-1 in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference playoffs.
The Eagles started the match slowly, being outscored by the Seahawks 6-2, but after a goal by St. Mary’s at 35:54, they picked up the pace and never slowed down. Mary Washington outshot the Seahawks 7-3, which included the tying score by junior Sarah Tryon on an assist from sophomore Amy Olson at 82:83. Overall, the Eagles led shots attempted by 11 to 9 and had five corner kicks to the Seahawk’s six.
Coach Corey Hewson said this has been a “season of two halves” for the Lady Eagles. Where the first half seemed to be the time to “warm-up” before the girls would “get into a rhythm.” And while most of the girls would wish that it could be a “tale of one game,” a win is a win and that is all that truly matters. After all, what is a playoff game without at least one overtime period?
Senior Alison DiPippa would bring the match to a close with her goal on an assist from sophomore Becky Clark when only 3:49 had passed in the overtime period. When asked about how the team managed to stay focused in the extra time after an already grueling match, Clark said, “You’re always dead by overtime, so it’s all heart from there.”
The Eagles certainly brought plenty of heart to the game despite the messy conditions. It had rained all day on Saturday and the field was wet and muddy when they took the field on Sunday. Such conditions definitely had an effect on the play style.
Sophomore goalkeeper Tina Behm said that in order to account for the murky conditions as the last defender, she had to “focus on getting [her] body behind the ball so that it will keep the ball from getting through. I also had to be aware of the potential skips the ball may take.”
Brehm definitely kept all such reminders at the forefront of her mind; she ended the game with four saves, including blocking a spectacular one-on-one, point blank shot with 10 seconds left in the second half that would have won the game for the Seahawks if she had not spoiled it.
Mary Washington finished the Regular season 12-4-3 and with the win on Sunday continued on to the second round of the tournament to face Salisbury University.
When asked how the team would be prepared for the next match, Coach Hewson said, “We will focus not so much on them, as much as on ourselves. We are getting a few players back from illness and we just want to be mentally tough and ready for the next game.”