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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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UMW teams fall in CAC championship matchups

UMW teams fall in CAC championship matchups

By MIKEY BARNES

The game began at 1 p.m., as they skies closed up and a rain storm began. With the poor weather taking place, the Battlegrounds still managed to have their bleachers filled with fans and their assorted colors of umbrellas.

Heading into Saturday, Nov. 7, was an exciting time for UMW athletics; as two of their programs were representing the university at home in their competition for the Capital Athletic Conference championships.

The first of these programs to compete on the day was the UMW women’s soccer team, as they were facing off against York College. The matchup was against the five and six seeds in the conference. Heading into the championship game, the Eagles of Mary Washington had a difficult path as they opened up the tournament with a narrow PK victory of the fourth seed Salisbury University.

It was following that game, the Eagles produced their biggest upset of the season with a 1-0 victory coming against the first seeded Christopher Newport University Captains. It was that victory that placed the Eagles in the championship game, which pinned them against the winnerof the second seeded St. Mary’s and the six seeded York. York came away with the narrow victory,  which being the lower seed, made it a home game for Mary Washington.

The first half of the Eagles was a very back and forth matchup between the two teams, as both Mary Washington and York squandered numerous scoring opportunities, most notably a header off the crossbar for UMW. The Eagles led the half with eight shots compared to the five of York. Neither team finding the net creating a scoreless tie at the halfway point.

In the second half, the Eagles held majority possession yet saw a number of possible scoring chances slip away. After the second half and a number of failed shot attempts both teams ended regulation tied 0-0, forcing overtime.

In the overtime, the Eagles offense shut down completely, as though they held thelongest possession time, they were unable to attempt a shot. This lack of offense, accompanied by  outstanding defense from both teams sent the game into a second overtime.

It was in the second overtime that one team emerged. With 1:38 remaining in the overtime period a blocked shot for York from 18 yards out was sent back through the net from a York player, giving them the lead and the victory. It was then that the season for the Eagles ended and York founded themselves with an automatic bid the NCAA tournament.

The UMW women’s soccer team finished the season 10-9-2, giving them their ninth straight winning season and fourth straight season with at least 10 victories.

The second UMW team competing for a CAC championship home was the field hockey team, led by CAC Player of the Year Jenna Steele and CAC Coach of the Year Lindsey Elliott.

As the women’s soccer game was finishing up, the ladies of the UMW field hockey team could be found just a few hundred yards away competing against Salisbury University. The path for the UMW field hockey team was a lot easier than that of the women’s soccer team. A first round bye, granted them an automatic semifinal game, in which they competed against York College. A 4-1 defeat over York, placed the Eagles in the championship game as the one seed, facing off against the second seeded Salisbury Seagulls. The championship game for the two teams included some phenomenal defense on both sides, with minimal offensive production.

Freshman goalie Jessica Cavolt proved to be the anchor for the Eagles defense as she made numerous saves on attempts from Salisbury.

The Eagles struck first on a goalie 26:24 into the game by senior Christine Loehr to give UMW the 1-0 lead. Less than 10 minutes later, at the 34:03 mark, Salisbury tied it up, sneaking one past Cavolt. The game went into halftime tied 1-1, as the dominant defense continued. In the second half, the Eagles offense was a lot more dominant, as was their defense. UMW had three shot attempts compared to the Salisbury zero, but unfortunately was still unable to score. With neither team able to score and the game still tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the two teams began overtime.

The overtime proved different than the second half, as the Seagulls proved more dominant offensively and defensively as they had four shot attempts to the Eagles’ zero. With Cavolt’s phenomenal effort in the goal, not one shot in the first overtime made it past her. The same could not be said for the second overtime. After 96:56 of playing, the Seagull’s found a way, as they put a shot past Cavolt to give them the victory, the upset and the automatic bid in the NCAA tournament.

With the loss, UMW dropped to 14-5 on the season and did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, even though they were ranked 11th in the nation.

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