Ashley Herndon tallied a goal and an assist for James Madison but was only able to lead them to a split of their two matches.
Once again I was able to head down to Thompson Field in Blacksburg, VA, to take in a four-team weekend tournament. This time Virginia Tech was hosting James Madison University, Indiana University, and Boston University.
Hosting their bracket of the NCAA tournament, Virginia made it through to the Elite Eight with two 2-0 wins – over UNC-Wilmington and Southern Cal – that weren’t as close as the box score might indicate.
Back in the spring and summer of 2012, the Chesapeake Charge faced the likes of the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, and Western New York Flash with a roster that included five players who had yet to attend their high school senior prom at the start of the season. Three of those players – Riley Barger, Alexis Prior-Brown, and Ashley Spivey – had signed with Maryland.
It’s now coming up on four years later. Spivey transferred to Central Florida, and Prior-Brown, plagued by injuries, has used up only one year of her NCAA eligibility despite being in her fourth year of schooling. Barger, though, is one of a bumper crop of seniors who have defined an era at Maryland. She and seven others were honored this evening. The most notable names are Canadian Rachelle Beanlands , who has set Maryland records for games started and played by a goalkeeper, and defender Shannon Collins, who has started every game for Maryland (78 so far) since she joined the program. The rest: defenders Amanda Gerlitz and Kayla Shea, and midfielders Erika Joab, Maisie McCune, and Sarah Molina.
Unfortunately, it was a typical night for Maryland: the defense held out against a strong attack, but the offense was nowhere to be found. Wisconsin earned a corner kick in the 81st minute. Kinley McNicoll sent it into the goalmouth, where McKenna Meuer headed it down to Micaela Powers, who put it away. The single goal was all the Badgers needed to clinch a share of the Big Ten championship.
What happens when a resistible force meets an immovable object? Well, when the force is the Maryland Terrapins’ suspect attack, and the immovable object is the impregnable (so far) Rutgers Scarlet Knights defense, the result is a predictable 1-0 win for the visitors.
Rutgers is making headlines with their defense, which has yet to give up a goal in 8 matches this season (10 if you count preseason). But the offense wasted no time doing their part. Just over a minute in, midfielder Madison Tiernan took the ball from Maryland on the Terps’ side of midfield, brought it forward, then sent it to forward Colby Ciarrocca at the top right corner of the box. The defense converged on Ciarrocca, and she tipped the ball to her left, in front of an oncoming Samantha Valliant, who fired it in in stride past goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands.
I made it to two matches this past weekend, both hard-fought ones that could have gone either way, but in both cases Virginia teams prevailed over local teams.
The Maryland Terrapins endured a withering barrage of shots from the nationally ranked (#11-#15) West Virginia Mountaineers but held the visitors to a single goal in – surprisingly – the first-ever meeting of the two teams. The visitors outshot the home team 21 to 5 overall and 7 to 2 with shots on target. They also had 6 corner kicks while giving up none.
The decisive goal came in the 25th minute. Defender Carly Black sent a nice ball forward to Amandine Pierre-Louis, who found space to fire a rocket of a shot in from the edge of the penalty area on the right. Goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands was able to make the save but not hold onto the ball. She, defender Amanda Gerlitz, and forward Kailey Utley all went for the rebound, but Utley got there first and was able to tap it in.
On Sunday, the Big East and Colonial Athletic Association teams switched off against each other. William & Mary faced Georgetown in the first game and shocked the Hoyas, 3-0. Then James Madison took on Seton Hall and prevailed easily, 5-0.
The Fairfield Inn by Marriott James Madison University Invitational – to give it its full name – presented a contrast in the first round of matches. In the opener, William & Mary dispatched Seton Hall easily, 5-1, while in the nightcap Georgetown had a tight, high-scoring battle with hosts James Madison before prevailing, 4-3.
If you had to set up a pecking order among the teams, it would definitely be:
1. Georgetown – last year 6-1-2 and #2 in Big East, 11-5-6 overall, ranked #25 in country.
2. James Madison – 7-2 and #2 in Colonial Athletic Association, 12-8 overall.
3. William & Mary – 5-4 and #4 in CAA, 12-6-1 overall.
4. Seton Hall – 0-6-3 in Big East, 3-10-5 overall.
I don’t want to diss Seton Hall too badly, but one of these teams is not like the others, and it showed in the results.
An enthusiastic crowd of 1,420 – including the Mighty Sound of Maryland pep band, which played throughout the match – showed up at Ludwig Field for Maryland’s inaugural home match in Big 10 competition. The crowd would not be disappointed, as the Terrapins women downed the NSCAA #25-ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 2-0.
Sunday’s concluding half of the Virginia Tech Tournament wasn’t nearly as dramatic as Friday night’s first half, but the games proved to be both competitive and entertaining. In the end both ACC teams came out on top with 2-0 victories, Wake Forest over Georgetown and Virginia Tech over UNC-Wilmington.