WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The No. 20-ranked William and Mary Tribe captured its 10th CAA championship on Sunday afternoon, defeating the VCU Rams, 1-0, in overtime. The CAA title is the first the College since 2003. The Tribe now heads to the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 17-2-2, while VCU falls to 9-8-4.
Junior captain and CAA Player of the Year Mallory Schaffer scored the game-winning goal for the Tribe in the 93rd minute off a pass from freshman Aly Shaughnessy. Schaffer scored all three of the College's goals in the conference championship. Sophomore defender Tara Connors was named the CAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, while goalie Katherine Yount, sophomore Dani Rutter, and Shaughnessy were all named to the CAA All-Tournament team.
Just 30 seconds in to the match, the Tribe had a fantastic shot for the match's first score. Taking a cross off the right side from Rutter, junior Erin Liberatore found herself in space in front of goal. Liberatore struck the ball well, but the shot sailed high from six yards out.
Despite controlling the majority of possession in the first 45 minutes, the Tribe was unable to get a score on the board. In the first half, the Tribe took six shots, getting just one on goal.
In the second half, the Rams took control from the outset, forcing its offense on the College. In the second frame, the College was out shot by VCU, 9-1, with the Tribe's only shot coming in the 61st minute off the foot of Rutter.
The Rams came within inches of taking the lead in the 79th minute, but fortune was on the Tribe's side. Off a free kick from 30 yards out, VCU's Cristin Granados - the CAA Rookie of the Year - cracked a blistering shot towards goal that clanged off the left goal post. Despite being out shot 17-7 in regulation, the Tribe's hopes for a 10th CAA title were still alive as the match went in to overtime tied at 0-0.
In the overtime session, both teams took turns with possession, but after a back-and-forth first 90 seconds, the Tribe took control. With the ball near the top of the 18-yard box in VCU's end, Shaughnessy headed a pass from 20 yards out, looking for Schaffer. The great pass got over the heads of the VCU defenders, allowing Schaffer to one-time the ball in to the lower right corner of the net from 10 yards out. Schaffer's 17th goal of the season, and her sixth game winner, earned the Tribe the CAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
With the goal, Schaffer now ranks in a tie for ninth all-time on the school's single season goal list, while her 40 points so far this year tie her for 10th most in W&M history in a single season.
William and Mary now heads to the NCAA Tournament for the 24th time in school history, which ranks the College third in the nation for most NCAA Tournament appearances behind only North Carolina and Connecticut. The trip to the tournament will be the first for the College since the 2008 season. The CAA Championship is the 10th in school history for the Tribe and the first since 2003. W&M now has won half (10) of the total number of women's soccer championships in conference history.
With the CAA's automatic bid in hand, the No. 20 William and Mary Tribe women's soccer team will now wait to hear their fate for the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Division I Soccer selection show will air live on NCAA.com at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 7. For all the latest news on Tribe women's soccer, be sure to go to TribeAthletics.com.