A shaky second-half defensive performance doomed William and Mary (4-14, 2-6 CAA) Sunday afternoon as Old Dominion was defeating the College 5-1 at Busch Field in the Tribe’s season finale.
“For the first half, it was anybody’s game,” Head Coach Peel Hawthorne ’80 said. “I felt like we had the momentum. We didn’t stop playing, and for that I’m very proud.”
The Monarchs came out firing, and quickly found the back of the net, scoring off a penalty corner just five minutes into the game. But the Tribe answered in the 29th minute on a corner of its own, as senior forward Kelsey Nawalinksi deflected a shot from sophomore defender Maria Caro into the upper left corner of the cage to even the score.
“It was a corner that we had practiced all week,” Nawalinksi said. “We knew it was going to come out today.”
For a moment, it looked as though the Tribe, which had been inconsistent all year, would be able to earn a win in its final game of the season.
But Old Dominion was not done. A relentless offensive attack in the final minute of the first half led to a pair of penalty corners, one of which resulted in a goal.
The 2-1 halftime deficit was a punch in the stomach to the Tribe, and turned the momentum for the remainder of the game.
The second half showcased ODU’s offensive pressure. The Monarchs had the Tribe playing on its heels, as Old Dominion notched four unassisted goals from two different players.
Sophomore goalkeeper Elizabeth Frey had a career-high 13 saves, but at times left the goal wide open for rebounds.
“I think if we had just made fewer errors on defense we would have given our attack more chances to get more shots on cage,” Hawthorne said. “But, once you start to get down like that, it becomes a game of keepaway.”
The loss was the final home game for the Tribe’s senior class, which ends its career with four straight losing seasons.
“[The seniors] are probably the most bonded — especially the largest bonded group — we’ve ever graduated,” Hawthorne said. “They’ve come a long way. We had ten seniors, but we didn’t have ten experienced seniors.”
Despite the fourteen losses this season, Nawalinksi said she is happy to have been a part of a close and cohesive unit.
“We talk about what our legacy is going to be here,” Nawalinski said.
“Our legacy is the love of our teammates [and] the attitude that we have brought to the team.”