WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The No. 20-ranked and No. 1-seeded William and Mary Tribe women's soccer team used two second half goals to upend No. 4-seeded Delaware, 2-1, at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field in the Virginia 529 CAA Women's Soccer Championship semifinals. With the win, the College improves its record to 16-2-2 on the year, while Delaware falls to 10-7-4. W&M will now play No. 2-seeded VCU on Sunday, November 6 at 1 p.m.
With the victory, the Tribe advances to its 10th CAA Tournament title match in program history and its first since the 2004 season. In conference tournament matches, the College has posted a record of 7-2, last winning the CAA Tournament championship in 2003.
CAA Player of the Year Mallory Schaffer lived up to her billing, netting a pair of goals in leading the Tribe to the conference championship on Sunday. Tallying assists on the night were senior Diana Weigel, junior Erin Liberatore, and sophomore Dani Rutter. Schaffer leads the CAA with 16 goals on the year, while Rutter leads the conference with 11 assists.
The Blue Hens were the team to strike first on cold, blustery night in Williamsburg, taking a 1-0 lead over the College in the eighth minute. With the ball on the right side of the pitch, UD's Leigh Victory pass to teammate Ali Miller in the middle of the 18-yard box. Miller struck the shot well, beating the W&M keeper to the near post for the goal. The goal was Miller's 14th on the season overall and her second in the conference tournament.
After surrendering the goal, William and Mary's offense ramped up the pressure on Delaware, controlling possession for the next 30 minutes of the half. Despite having the ball in UD's attacking third, the College was able to get just two shots off.
In the 10th minute, sophomore Audrey Barry had her shot saved by the Blue Hens' keeper, while Liberatore had a shot in the 17th that sailed high of the crossbar from 15 yards out. At the half, Delaware led W&M, 1-0. The halftime deficit marked just the third time all season that the Tribe trailed an opponent after 45 minutes.
In the second half, the Tribe came out and controlled the match from the first whistle, taking its offense right at the Blue Hens. In the 51st minute, the College found the equalizer off a set piece.
After a foul on Delaware, W&M had a free kick from about 27 yards out, right of center. Weigel took the free kick, blasting the ball to the upper right corner. The UD keeper was able to keep the ball out with a diving save, but the rebound was collected by Schaffer, who tapped it in from a yard out to tie the match at 1-1.
William and Mary continued to push offensively, just missing out on a pair of goals by inches. In the 59th minute, Schaffer was looking for another goal, but the Delaware keeper was able to get to her shot and push it out of bounds and out of harm's way. Then on a give-and-go with Rutter, Weigel cracked a shot from 30 yards out, nailing the crossbar.
Finally in the 70th minute, the Tribe was able to break through with the game winner. On the attack, Rutter went streaking down the right side of the pitch. The sophomore crossed the ball to the left, finding Liberatore at the edge of the box. Liberatore crossed the ball back to the right, finding Schaffer who finished beautifully from two yards out. Schaffer's sixth two-goal game of the season gave the Tribe its winning margin of 2-1 over Delaware.
For the match, the Tribe out shot the Blue Hens, 14-12, including a 12-4 advantage in the second half. W&M had 10 shots on goal on the night to just three for Delaware. The Tribe's Katherine Yount made two saves in the winning effort, while UD's Breanna Stemler made eight in the loss.
The No. 20 William and Mary Tribe women's soccer team will host the No. 2 seed VCU Rams in the Virginia 529 CAA Women's Soccer Championship match on Sunday, November 6. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field. Fans can follow along with live stats and live audio free of charge at TribeAthletics.com. A live video broadcast is also available on a pay-per-view basis at TribeAthletics.com as well.