Segan helps Tribe reach CAA semifinals
There’s a sense of what could have been for Sarah Segan and the College of William and Mary women’s soccer team.
William and Mary raced out of the gates this fall with a 4-1 record. Segan, a former Northwestern High School standout on the pitch, scored three goals in that stretch. But in that fourth win, the season flipped upside down for the Tribe.
Segan suffered a hamstring injury against Bucknell in her team’s fifth game of the season. The redshirt sophomore missed seven games due to that injury, and William and Mary endured a seven-game losing skid.
“We fought back for our season and ended up making it to the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association] semifinals, which was great,” Segan said. “I think going into the season we had very high expectations that we didn’t necessarily achieve. It was great to see the team bounce back from losing to fighting our way to the CAA semis, so that is something that I am proud of and one of the reasons why I love this team.”
After that skid, William and Mary started to make up some ground. And it did so with the return of its leading scorer.
Segan (8 goals, 4 assists) scored five goals since returning against Hofstra, and William and Mary went on to win three of its last four regular season games. That earned the Tribe the No. 5 seed in the CAA tournament.
After defeating No. 4 James Madison in the quarterfinals, 4-3, William and Mary’s run came to an end in the semifinals against eventual champion and top-seed Hofstra.
“The fact that we ended up making it to the playoffs was great for how our season was going,” Segan said. “We had more of a fight than we have had the rest of the season, and at that point we really knew we had a chance at winning CAA.”
The Tribe lost in the CAA semifinals as well in 2016. If not for an injury to one of its top players, who knows what could have been with a healthy William and Mary lineup for all of 2017.
“Ever since we lost in the semis in the fall of 2016, we had the drive to want to win the following year,” Segan said. “Going into preseason we all came in knowing what our goal was for the year, and that was to obviously win a CAA championship. We have a really talented group of girls, but we weren’t able to utilize all that we had, sadly.
“Before the season started I would have never guessed we were going to have a seven-game losing streak in the middle of our season.”
William and Mary has been to six straight CAA semifinals.
The setback for Segan was her second in three seasons. She missed all of her freshman season with a meniscus injury, and then nearly half of this year with that pulled hamstring.
But after much rehab (including two sessions per day) and countless dry needling appointments, Segan says her hamstring is just about back to normal.
“I don’t really think I understood how strong of a role I had on this team until I was injured,” Segan said. “Anyone on our team is capable of scoring, but it made me realize that I am a strong part of the offense regardless of whether I am the one putting the ball in the back of the net or not.
“I am happy to know that while I am in, I make a positive impact. So that’s something that drives me, gives me confidence and what makes me want to get better as well.”
The goal heading into next season—although months away—remains the same. The Tribe are fighting for a CAA championship after falling in the semifinals once again.
But next year’s team will have a different face at the helm. Former head coach John Daly retired after the 2017 season, and former Tribe player Julie Cunningham takes over the program. Cunningham coached at Princeton and led the team to the NCAA Final Four.
“The goal after every season is to get ready to win the CAA for the next season,” Segan said. “So for us, it’s putting in the time to get fit and fine tune soccer to become a better team.”
Segan was named to the Virginia Sports Information Directors All-State First Team, and earned All-CAA Second Team honors. Despite missing seven games, Segan’s eight goals ranked second in the conference.