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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Lauren Curran’s Hat Trick Lifts W&M Field Hockey to CAA Championship

(Tribe Athletics)

NEWARK, Del. — Graduate student Lauren Curran netted a hat trick, including the game-winner in the second overtime, to lift William & Mary to a 3-2 CAA Championship victory over Monmouth on Sunday afternoon at Rullo Stadium.

The Tribe (11-8) showed the heart of a champion, twice rallying from a goal deficit, the second time with less than five minutes remaining in the contest to force overtime. W&M knocked off the league regular-season champion for the second time this season in winning the program’s second CAA title and first since 2018.

After playing the first 10-minute extra period scoreless, the Tribe cashed its second penalty corner of the second OT and fourth overall in the extra frames. Junior Pyper Friedman fed to Curran at the top of the circle, and the Media, Pa., native’s hard shot deflected off the pad of the Monmouth goalkeeper and into the netting to set off a Tribe celebration. It was Curran’s 14th goal of the season, the 12th-best total in program history, and her fourth game-winner. The assist was Friedman’s sixth on the year.

Curran, who has 10 goals in W&M’s last six matches, scored all three Tribe goals, marking just the second hat trick for a Green and Gold player in the CAA Tournament and first since 1995. For her efforts, Curran was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Championship. She joins W&M alum Estelle Hughes, who led the Tribe to the 2018 CAA title, in earning the honor. Seniors Allison GoodwinMaddie George, and Jayden Moon joined Curran on the CAA All-Tournament team.

George finished with six saves in cage, but none bigger than her penalty stroke stop in the 54th minute with the Tribe trailing 2-1. She made half of her stops in the overtime periods.

For the game, the Tribe generated 13 penalty corners, scoring on two of them, compared to three for Monmouth. W&M also outshot the Hawks, 24-13, putting 15 of those chances on goal.

Like she did in the opening match-up between the Tribe and Hawks, Sofia Fouces gave Monmouth (12-6) a first-quarter lead with the game’s initial tally. In the 10th minute, the CAA Player of the Year went top shelf with a backhand from just inside the circle on the right side.

Just over two minutes into the second half, Curran knotted things up. Junior Kellen Richbourg carried into the circle and laid off a centering pass to the graduate forward. Curran backhanded a shot into right side of the netting to knot the contest at one. It was Richbourg’s first helper of the year.

Monmouth retook the lead in the 42nd minute. Aylin Aufenacker carried the ball from the left flank down to the endline around the Tribe defense, and scored into the far post from in close.

The Tribe generated four penalty corners in the fourth period and finally broke through with the equalizer in the final five minutes of regulation. Off the corner, graduate student Audrey Domovich’s initial shot was stopped by Monmouth goalkeeper Jessie Eiselin, but Curran was right there to collected the rebound and flip it home with just 4:47 remaining.

Monmouth nearly found its third goal in the 54th minute. Off a quick counter following a Tribe corner, the Hawks earned a penalty stroke. George came up huge, denying Nora Goddard-Despot’s shot from the spot to keep the deficit at one.

The Tribe had the better of the chances in overtime, outshooting Monmouth, 9-3. Founces picked up a yellow card four minutes into the first extra period to give the Tribe a player advantage for five minutes. W&M generated back-to-back corners during the stretch, but couldn’t find the winner in the first 10-minute period.

Scoring
10′ | Monmouth – Sofia Fouces (unassisted)
33′ | W&M – Lauren Curran (Kellen Richbourg)
42′ | Monmouth – Aylin Aufenacker (unassisted)
56′ | W&M – Curran (unassisted)
75′ | W&M – Curran (Pyper Friedman)

Starters
W&M – #1 George (GK), #2 Schuma, #3 Domovich, #5 Gruendel, #8 Friedman, #9 McGaughey, #12 Moon, #21 Goodwin, #24 McKinney, #27 Schwartz, #33 Curran
Monmouth – #1 Eiselin (GK), #4 Schwartz, #7 Relik, #8 Shakespeare, #10 Aufenacker, #11 Karlhuber, #12 Bloomstead, #14 Moors, #16 Fouces, #21 Goddard-Despot, #22 Tuckers

Up Next
The Tribe will play in its fourth NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Division I Field Hockey Selection show and bracket release is set for tonight at 10 p.m. ET. The release will be streamed on NCAA.com. The opening two games of the tournament will be played at campus sites on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The first round is set for Friday, Nov. 10, at the highest four seeds.

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