Last season, the University of Virginia ended the College of William and Mary’s season in the second round of the NCAA tournament with a goal in the 89th minute.
But Friday’s match versus the no. 9 Cavaliers is about more than revenge — it is a chance for the College to right its season.
The Tribe enters the weekend a disappointing 2-2-1 after dropping Sunday’s match against Columbia University. A win over U.Va. would put the College back over .500 and would give the Tribe its first win over a ranked opponent.
It won’t be easy. U. Va. is 5-0-2 and returns five seniors from a team, which made the third round of the NCAAs last season.
Senior left back Abbey Lauer has a crucial role on both offense and defense, not only stopping opponents’ attacks, but also igniting the Tribe offense.
Lauer starts things off for the Tribe from the backline, playing the ball into the attacking third and allowing leading scorer senior Claire Zimmeck to run down the field. Place her near midfield, and she can boom the ball into the box for senior midfielder Dani Collins and Zimmeck to finish.
Battle of the Midfield
In the College’s victory over Brigham Young University, the Tribe dominated the midfield. In its loss to Columbia, the Lions controlled the midfield without consistent pressure from Tribe defenders.
Controlling the midfield is important not only because it can lead to goal-scoring opportunities but also because it controls where the game is played. Collins and her fellow midfielders must keep the action on the Cavalier’s side of the field in order to find success.
The Long and Short of It
Tribe forwards freshman Stephanie Gerow, junior Kellie Jenkins and Zimmeck are fast. Get them the ball with space to operate and good things will happen. To do this, the Tribe has to play the long ball from the backline instead of from midfield.
Playing the long ball from the backline gives Zimmeck and friends the whole attacking third in which to operate, while the same ball from midfield forces the Tribe offense to group together inside the box and rely on headers to score. The College must release the ball early from the backline and trust its forwards to create in space.