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Archive for September 4, 2022

Sept. 4, 2022 — An early upset

The first time The College of William & Mary put an intercollegiate field hockey team on the pitch, it was November of 1925. Facing a Sweet Briar team founded and nurtured by Constance Applebee, things did not go well. The Tribe lost 34-0 in what could be an all-time intercollegiate record for the sport.

Fast forward to this afternoon. William & Mary is currently a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, and has made three NCAA tournaments, the most recent in 2018. Under head coach Tess Ellis, the team has blended players from some of the finest scholastic programs in the commonwealth, such as Frank W. Cox, Richmond Collegiate, First Colonial, Langley, and Trinity Episcopal.

But also figuring into the team’s formula for success are a pair of Pennsylvanians — Lily Saunders of Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) and Audrey Domovich of Hummelstown Lower Dauphin (Pa.), representing teams which have won championships in recent years.

Coming into today, William & Mary was doing pretty well, having won its opener against Old Dominion in overtime, then getting past Virginia Commonwealth in OT as well on the opening weekend. Friday afternoon, the Tribe suffered a 3-1 defeat to Richmond.

But in this afternoon’s non-conference game against NCAA finalist Liberty, William & Mary came up with perhaps its most important win in program history. The difference in the 1-0 win for William & Mary was an overtime penalty stroke by Ireland Miller.

The fact that the game was 0-0 at the end of regulation was not entirely unexpected. Liberty, one year ago, was one of the nation’s best defensive teams, conceding just over a goal a match, allowing the opportunistic offense to find a way to win the game.

This afternoon, an unfortunate foul in the goalmouth lead to the stroke call for William & Mary, whereupon Ireland knocked it into the lower corner.

Now, if you examine the records, William & Mary is usually good for a win over a Top 10 team every once in a while. The Tribe has a 2-1 win over No. 5 Virginia in 2013, a 1-0 win over No. 7 Michigan in 2017, a 2-1 overtime win over No. 5 Louisville in 2019.

But this win over a team which made it all the way to the national final is not insignificant. Indeed, it could be one of those program-defining victories that could lead to future success at the conference and national levels.