WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Sophomore Arialle Hess (Allentown, Pa.) scored a pair of goals and Virginia Commonwealth University clinched its first Colonial Athletic Association Tournament bid since 2003 with a 4-1 victory over William & Mary Sunday at Busch Field.
"I am thrilled," VCU Head Coach Kelly McQuade, in her fourth season, said. "I've been talking about it all year. Our seniors, Marle and Flore van Dessel really deserve it. It's so important for us to continue this. I'm so proud for those girls to be getting the recognition they deserve."
The Rams' matched their second-most victories in a single season with Sunday's win. VCU also won 13 games in 1990 and set a school record with 16 in 1992. William & Mary is 4-13 overall and 2-5 in league action.
Hess, a transfer from Temple University, booked her second two-goal performance of the season. She tapped in a rebound in the 18th minute to stake the Rams to a 1-0 lead. She added a late score in the 68th minute when she cleaned up a scrum in from of the cage. Hess has six goals this year.
Senior Marle van Dessel (Oisterwijk, Netherlands) helped VCU break open a 1-1 game when she scored on a corner in the 47th minute. Freshman Emilie Soares (Santa Clara, Calif.) provided a little breathing room with her goal six minutes later off a feed from sophomore Kelsey Scherer (Chesapeake, Va.).
Despite a 12-0 advantage in shots in the first half, the Rams only managed a single goal. However, behind a 10-shot attack in the second period, VCU broke through to earn the victory.
The match was a physical battle and saw five green and yellow cards issued. At one point, the Rams had to overcome a two-player disadvantage.
"It was an exciting game," McQuade said. "We put together a hard fight. Even when we were two players down at one point we were able to keep up our momentum."
The victory was also McQuade's first over her alma mater and mentor, Peel Hawthorne, in four tries.
The Rams outshot William & Mary, 22-5, in the match and owned a 5-3 edge in penalty corners.
VCU will wrap up its regular-season schedule and attempt to lock down the No. 3 seed in the CAA when it hosts Northeastern on Friday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. at Cary Street Field.