By JONATHAN SPEES
The University of Mary Washington women’s soccer team began the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament by traveling to York College in Pennsylvania to do battle with the Spartans on a brisk, yet beautiful Sunday afternoon. It was a back- and-forth struggle that needed extra time to be decided, but a goal late in the first overtime period gave the Eagles the 2-1 victory and allowed them to survive and advance.
“I am extremely proud of my team today,” said senior defender Karen Strat after the game. “We proved to ourselves and the other teams in the conference that we are the team to beat in this tournament. For the rest of the season, the seniors including myself, are fighting just to have one more game of our soccer careers. I know I do not want the season to end.”
The Spartans looked to have the advantage heading into the game, as they were the home team and had won their regular season match against UMW 2-1. Despite not finding the back of the net, York dominated the first half, outshooting the Eagles 5-0 and at one point holding a 10 to 1 shot advantage over UMW. Despite being on the defensive for most of the first half, UMW was able to keep the game even throughout the opening half.
The first goal came a little more than 10 minutes into the second half, when the Spartans’ Jena Armistar was able to finally capitalize on one of the Spartans numerous opportunities. Armistar’s goal was a 30-yard strike that got over the head of UMW senior goalkeeper Tina Brehm.
The Eagles looked to be in a lot of trouble as the York finally produced and still had the momentum going for them. However, despite a pressing York team, UMW sophomore Kelsey Carter was able to head the ball into the goal following a brilliant cross from junior Excy Herrera in the 74th minute.
The equalizing goal swung the momentum in the favor of the Eagles, however neither teams were able to break the draw in regulation, forcing the game to overtime. The Eagles came out still firing on all cylinders, seven minutes into the first overtime period, sophomore Erin Reynolds scored her eighth goal of the season to help the Eagles advance to the second round of the CAC Tournament.
“We played through a lot of adversity and came out on top, I couldn’t be more proud of the team,” junior defender Emmalee Denkler said. “It’s always difficult to win away, especially in postseason, but we didn’t let that bother us. We may not have had as many opportunities as York, but we capitalized when we needed to and came away proving to the conference that we are a serious team and can win this tournament.”
The Eagles were back in action last night against the conference’s top seed, Salisbury University, and fell to the Sea Gulls 3-2. Mary Washington was up 2-1 with 15 minutes to play in regulation, but Salisbury rallied to score two goals to earn the come from behind victory. The loss ended UMW’s season at 9-7-2.