Senior midfielder Grace Golden began the 2011 campaign last weekend with a three goal outing against Duke in William and Mary’s season opener. Golden’s three goals in that match would have been considered a great start to the season by any normal means, but for Golden, a three goal performance was merely pedestrian.
The perennial All-American topped it Sunday with a school-record tying eight goals to propel the Tribe (1-1) to a 18-13 victory over Richmond Saturday at Martin Stadium. It was a performance truly befitting the CAA Preseason Co-Player of the Year.
“Obviously, we are happy with the outcome, but more than just getting the ‘W’, we are really pleased with the overall, top to bottom effort to finish the game,” Head Coach Christine Halfpenny said. “I think we are still working on some aspects of our game that we are still tightening up … but we maintained the gameplan and made adjustments, so overall, I was really pleased with their ability to do that.”
Golden’s outstanding day featured an 8 for 9 shooting effort, tying the College’s single-game goals record set by Jamie Sellers’ ’08 against Longwood in 2008.
While Golden’s efforts propelled the Tribe, the College also benefited from strong performances from senior attacker Ashley Holofcener – who recorded four goals, two assists, three caused turnovers and three ground balls – and senior defender Sarah Jonson, who logged three draw controls and four ground balls.
“The beauty of our offense this year is that we have so many weapons, and today turned out be Grace’s day,” Halfpenny said. “She made some big plays in transition, and Richmond tried to make some adjustments on Grace, and they just didn’t work. Grace made them pay for it.”
The College has relied on its senior core in the past, but several underclassmen also stepped up against the Spiders. Sophomore attacker Kyrstin Mackrides registered three goals and two assists, while junior midfielder Jenny Michael added five draw controls.
The Tribe had an uneven first half against the Spiders. The squad started out well, recording three goals in the opening 3 minutes and 33 seconds, and Holofcener’s goal with 22:42 left in the match giving the Tribe a commanding 5-1 lead. But five straight Richmond goals in the next ten minutes put the Spiders up 6-5.
“We knew that they had the ability to score, their percentages were very, very good,” Halfpenny said. “They have good shooters and they go very, very hard, a style we are not super used to. So our biggest key to the game was winning the draw controls, and I thought our girls had a little bit of a letdown. But they dug in and fought back and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
The Tribe responded with a 5-0 run in the second half, punctuated by another Holofcener goal with 2:21 remaining. Richmond scored three more goals before the break, but Golden sneaked in a score with 0:14 remaining to give the College a 11-9 edge at the break.
When play resumed in the second half, Golden took control. Five of her eight goals were scored in the half, and she alone outscored the entire Richmond squad, which managed only four second half goals.
After allowing nine goals in the first, senior goalkeeper Emily Geary regrouped at the break to provide a stellar performance in the last 30 minutes, a sign that Halfpenny hopes will lead to more saves and wins for the College.
“I think she made great adjustments,” Halfpenny said. “She is just continuing to get better and better, and I am really excited about her experience between the pipes.”