A new formation yielded the same result for William and Mary (2-5) over the weekend, as the College fell to No. 1 North Carolina 5-0 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Sunday after losing to Vermont (3-3) by a 4-2 margin Friday at Busch Field.
The Tribe spent the past week implementing a new 5-2-3 formation, but critical defensive errors would cost the College in both of their matches this weekend.
Sunday, North Carolina opened up with four goals in the first half, including three goals within the first 22 minutes of play.
“We had four corners in a row at the beginning of the game,” Head Coach Peel Hawthorne said. “We were in the right places; we just missed it or kicked it into somebody’s heel, did things like that which aren’t necessarily dumb mistakes, but there are too many of those instances still happening. You give a team like North Carolina that many corners and they’re going to score, but they actually could have scored more.”
Despite allowing five goals on the match, senior goalie Camillia Hill played well Sunday, recording 11 saves.
“Camilla played very well,” Hill said. “I’d say that she did a stupendous job, and I’d say that overall the team actually played pretty well, given what we had to work with and what Carolina brought to the table. They are the defending national champions, so it’s not a disgrace to lose to them by any means.”
As opposed to its slow start Sunday, the Tribe started quickly on Friday. Four minutes into the game, senior forward Rebecca Wagner knocked the ball past Vermont goalkeeper Brooke Crane, giving the Tribe an early 1-0 advantage.
The Tribe continued attacking aggressively throughout the game, putting up 18 shots on goal, but the squad could not put many quality shots on frame.
Wagner also stressed the lack of second-chance offense and an overall problem with finishing drives.
“We just don’t have people filling in off the initial shot on the rebound and those are the kinds of goals we need to finish,” Wagner said.
The defense was haunted by positioning mistakes made in front of the goal. Vermont’s first goal of the game came off of a crossing pass in which Hill dove, leaving the cage exposed for an easy put-in.
“It wasn’t until the last five yards when people just panic and jump to the ball,” Hawthorne said. “When they get in that last little bit of the red zone, that’s when they lose their heads.”
After the Catamounts strung together four consecutive goals in the middle of the match, the Tribe fell into a press defense in a desperate attempt to generate offense.
In the 69th minute, sophomore defender Maria Caro slapped a hard shot off of a penalty corner which went into the back of the cage untouched. Wagner and senior Erica Eng were credited with the assist.
Despite the loss, the Tribe is optimistic that the new formation will help open passing lanes and liven up a lagging offense in future matches.
“We went with a new formation which we think will suit us better, and I do think that it will suit us better in spite of tonight’s outcome,” Hawthorne said.