William and Mary improved its record to 3-0 in league play Sunday, steamrolling visiting Towson, 5-0.
The Tribe dominated possession from start to finish, using an aggressive, attacking style to put on an offensive clinic that saw head coach John Daly’s team fire off 25 shots on goal. Towson managed just nine shots of its own and never really threatened freshman keeper Caroline Casey, who notched her sixth shutout of the season.
“We played very well from start to finish,” Daly said. “We could’ve easily been up by three or four in the first half.”
As it happened, the College carried a two-goal lead into the first intermission. The early lead was established when senior midfielder Cortlyn Bristol intercepted an errant Towson back-pass and roped in a shot from the middle of the area just eight minutes into the action.
Senior forward Mallory Schaffer netted her team-leading eighth goal of the season 10 minutes later. The goal was the product of a nifty build-up, with Bristol heading the ball down perfectly to sophomore midfielder Dani Rutter, who then played in Schaffer for a point-blank shot. The goal broke a rare, albeit brief, scoreless streak for Schaffer, who Daly says still finds other ways to make her teammates better even when she’s not in top goal-scoring form.
“[Schaffer] could’ve have a couple more today,” Daly said. “She hasn’t scored in a few [matches], but she still does a little bit of everything and leads by example.”
With a 2-0 lead, and his team dominating the run of play, Daly opted to give minutes to multiple reserves in the second half.
The young subs did not disappoint.
Freshman forward Samantha Cordum scored her first collegiate goal in the 58th minute thanks to a timely through-ball from fellow freshman standout Nicole Baxter. The College also got quality minutes from reserves Lauren Gough, a junior midfielder, and senior forward Jackie Blake-Hedges.
“[The reserves] have been playing really well in practice,” Daly said. “They’ve shown a lot of resilience and it was good to be able to get them some playing time.”
The Tribe blew the game open in the 82nd minute, when sophomore forward Anna Madden crossed to junior striker Audrey Barry, who calmly slid the ball in past the keeper for a 4-0 lead. Six minutes later, Blake-Hedges scored her first career goal for the College, heading home a swerving free-kick off the foot of senior defender Kiersten Harpe.
Daly also praised his defense for a tenacious effort that often left Towson struggling to get the ball over midfield. A backfield combination of Harpe and sophomore Emily Fredrikson, along with the speed and intense play of freshman Leci Irvin, frustrated the Tigers throughout the match.
“The defense was really solid,” Daly said. “Harpe and Fredrikson are really working well together.”
The coach also characterized the specialized role of freshman Irvin as a disruptive force to the opponent’s offense.
“[Irvin] usually takes [the opponent’s] most dangerous forward and shuts them down,” Daly said.
The Tribe will look to keep its perfect conference record intact when North Carolina-Wilmington visits Williamsburg Thursday.