The end of a lackluster season became clearer Sunday afternoon, as a weary William and Mary (4-13, 2-5 CAA) squad dropped a physical matchup 4-1 against Virginia Commonwealth at Busch Field.
With the loss, the Tribe falls to seventh place in the conference standings and out of contention for the postseason tournament.
“We had some fatigue,” Head Coach Peel Hawthorne ’80 said. “I think Friday’s game was so emotional for us and then homecoming, and I think we were a little more spent with some key players not as dynamic as they were Friday night.”
What the Tribe was able to do on Friday — efficient passing, constant pressure and solid defense on the opposition’s corners — it struggled to do on Sunday. The Rams, led by a trio of sisters recruited
from the Netherlands, posed a relentless offensive attack by penetrating the Tribe defense.
They took 12 shots in the first half — compared to zero taken by the Tribe — with one of those shots resulting in a Rams’ goal in the 18th minute. But the Tribe came out rejuvenated in the
second half. Less than five minutes in, senior midfielder Jenna Cinalli evened the score with a
goal off a rebound.
“I dove because the [defender] was about to hit it back out,” Cinalli said. “It was about a foot away from the line, and I was not about to let it get back out.”
From then on, the Rams wore down the College’s defenders. The Tribe was forced into making 10 substitutions, while the Rams made only two of their own.
VCU scored the go-ahead goal on a penalty corner — something the Tribe had not given up in the past three games. The pass went directly to midfielder Marle van Dessel, who shot the ball in. The Rams added two more goals in the 53rd and 68th minutes.
The Rams also brought a rough physicality to the game. The referees issued five cards — three of which were yellow — resulting in two VCU players being forced to sit out.
“It happens every now and again. It’s partly where the officials want to set the tone,” Hawthorne said. “They have certainly more of a physical style to their game, but they were also very skilled.”