William and Mary (9-3) came into the weekend having won its first two conference matches — an impressive start to its CAA season. However, as the Tribe learned over the weekend: it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
The Tribe split a pair of matches this weekend, defeating Drexel 1-0 Sunday after dropping Friday’s match against Delaware 1-0. The Tribe outshot the Dragons 26-4 Sunday, yet only tallied one goal, a header from freshman midfielder Cortlyn Bristol off a set-piece played into the box by junior back Kaitlin O’Connor in the 27th minute.
“I’m not usually in the plays to head the ball, so I figured I’d just follow in behind everyone,” Bristol said. “I saw it, stuck a head in there and hopefully tried to at least keep it in play.”
Aside from Bristol, the Tribe was unable to find the back of the net, despite putting 9 shots on goal. Freshman forward Erin Liberatore came the closest but was denied in the 26th minute
when her 10-yard volley hit the right post.
“Our finishing was awful,” Head Coach John Daly said. “I mean, we should have beaten this team by five goals with the chances we had.”
The Tribe has made a habit of keeping opposing teams in the match, having scored one goal or less 7 out of their last 10 matches. The pattern is often the same: The Tribe fails to put the ball in the net early, forcing junior goalkeeper Grace Barnard to have to come up with at least one close save later in the match.
Barnard’s save came in the 59th minute Sunday, when she dove to her left to stone Drexel midfielder Jourdan Halasz who had come free on a long ball played forward.
“We’ve just got to keep concentrating on working hard in midfield, and we have to do a better job of getting the ball in the box and finishing it,” Daly said.
The Tribe’s best scoring chance Friday versus Delaware came in the 86th minute on a free kick from junior back Kaitlin O’Connor. Directly in front of the box, 20 yards away from the goal, O’Connor sent the ball high to the center of the net, but Blue Hen keeper Annie Bevan punched the ball over the crossbar, ending the Tribe’s best scoring chance.
“I had one like that in the game last week, and [Daly] told me to hit the heck out of it because it’s not far out enough where it will be able to drop,” O’Connor said. “If I could have, I obviously would have gone a little to the right.”
The Blue Hens scored the game’s only goal four minutes into the match on a goal from Kasie Shover. The Tribe spent the rest of the match playing catch-up and missing on passes.
“We weren’t connecting. We just weren’t on the same page [Friday] and it is unfortunate,” O’Connor said.
The College begins a four-game road trip starting at Northeastern Friday night. The Huskies are 7-3-1 on the season and are currently ranked fifth in the CAA with a conference record of 2-1-1. Last season the Tribe beat Northeastern 3-2 after registering two second half goals to seal the comeback victory. The College will then travel to Hofstra for a Sunday afternoon contest.