In last year’s CAA Championship game, the College of William and Mary managed only seven goals against Towson University en route to a 16-7 defeat.
In this year’s semifinal matchup between the two squads, the no. 20 College registered seven goals in the first half alone. Yet the Tribe, who led the CAA with 14.62 goals per game, could not duplicate its offensive dominance in the second half, scoring on only three of 12 second half shots before falling to the Tigers 15-10.
“We had the same approach we had last year,” senior attacker Julia Martin said. “It’s about playing to stay alive, but this time we just came up short.”
The Tigers outmatched the College winning 20 of 26 draws and were able to control the tempo for much of the game. After the Tribe went into the half with a 7-6 advantage, Towson won 11 of 13 second half draws and was able to waste time late in the contest to prevent a comeback.
Both teams had opportunities in the first half with lengthy possessions resulting in quality scoring chances. With under 20 seconds to play in the opening half, a charging Martin found junior midfielder Katie Rees who was cutting towards the right post. With a quick flick of the wrist, Martin delivered a crisp pass to Rees, who swiftly deposited it into the net for her third goal of the half.
The second half was much more fluid, with both squads countering offensive surges early. With the score knotted at nine, Tigers’ leading scorer Nikki Marcinik netted her 46th goal of the season on a low shot that went past sophomore goalkeeper Emily Geary. The Tribe struggled to find an answer to Marcinik’s blast, forcing Head Coach Christine Halfpenny to use the team’s second and final timeout of the game.
The Tribe managed to tie the score on Rees’ fourth and final goal of the game, but momentum soon swung
back to the Tigers when Maggie McNamara gave Towson a one-goal lead with ten minutes to play. Twenty-two seconds later, Marcinik added to her team-leading goal total, and the Tigers never looked back.
“We had the right strategy coming out of the timeout, but we didn’t follow up with the same effort after [Rees’] goal,” Halfpenny said. “We were afraid to lose rather than playing to win.”
First team all-CAA selections, sophomore midfielder Grace Golden and classmate attacker Ashley Holofcener, contributed just two goals and three assists, respectively. Golden ends the season with a team leading 44 goals, one less than her final total one year ago. Holofcener, who led the team in assists, finished the season with 30 assists, second most all-time at the College. Holofcener currently ranks sixth on the Tribe’s career assists mark.
Though Halfpenny will have a wealth of talent returning next year, she feels worst about her six graduating seniors.
“They really made a big difference and helped us out a lot this season,” Halfpenny said.