By Courtney Ott, Sports Editor and Sam Peterson, Senior Staff Writer
The Towson women’s soccer team continued to achieve history as they secured a spot to play in the CAA Championship for the first time in program history. The No. 1 seeded Tigers defeated the visiting No. 5 William & Mary 1-0 in a match that went down to the wire.
Senior forward Nia Christopher finished with one goal off of senior midfielder Phoebe Canole’s assist. Goalkeeper Riley Melendez anchored the defense with one save with the help of a stout backline.
“They were organized, they were calm, they possessed the ball a lot through them,” said head coach Katherine Vettori. “We knew it would be difficult. It’s hard to play the same team twice within a 10-day period of time…we knew that we just needed to simplify the game.”
The first half of the match was a defensive battle between the Tigers and the Tribe. Towson’s brick wall defense, anchored by Melendez, limited William & Mary to only one shot in the first half.
The Tigers’ offense was able to create opportunities and recorded nine shots on goal, but they were unable to find the back of the net. Towson held 58% ball possession, while the Tribe trailed behind with 42% ball possession in the first half.
Forward Jasmine Hamid was Towson’s offensive leader with four shots, followed by Canoles with three. The game was scoreless at the break, as the pressure of who would move on to the CAA championship continued to rise going into the second half.
The battle between Towson and William & Mary continued. The Towson offense looked to get into a rhythm, with their first opportunity coming from Christopher in the 66th minute with the Tribes’ goalkeeper Morgan Wood defending.
With the game winding down to its final minutes, Canoles found Christopher to give Towson a 1-0 lead. The Tigers would hold onto the lead in the final minutes as they secured their spot in the CAA Championship.
“It was one of those days where it was more difficult to get it in the back of the net and luckily, we got it when we did,” said Vettori.
With the shutout against the Tribe, Melendez is now tied for the all-time program shutout record at 28.
“It’s really meaningful to us because for four years, we have been putting our work in, and we have never really seen results like this. It means a lot and we really want it,” said Melendez.
The Tigers currently hold a 14-2-2 record and are now tied for the most wins in a season.
The Tigers will have an opportunity to secure their first CAA championship title as they face off against No. 3 Monmouth on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m.