For the third time this season, William and Mary (1-6) faced the daunting challenge of playing against a heavily favored, nationally recognized program at Martin Family Stadium.
Against Duke and U.Va, the College competed well with strong first half showings in both games, but each time was unable to perform down the stretch. Against Albany (6-0) Tuesday afternoon, the Tribe wasn’t even able to get started, losing 14-3 at home.
The Tribe couldn’t find a solution to one play in particular. At the top of the 12-meter fan, an Albany attacker would catch the ball, back up to isolate her defender, and then accelerate towards the goal. The College’s slide was frequently late to prevent open shooting opportunities. Every other shot was an Albany goal.
“We could’ve done a better job of sliding with body, as they are a great one-on-one team,” Head Coach Hillary Fratzke said. “That’s what they do, and then they finish their 8 meter [free position shots].”
Albany (6-0) — who ranks 5th nationally in scoring per game — held a crucial 27-14 shot advantage. The Great Danes held a similar advantage in penalties, committing only 13 to the College’s 27. Fratzke pointed to the large margin as an indication of the discrepancy in time of possession, as defensive penalties are far more common than offensive penalties.
The Tribe forced 10 turnovers but still struggled with Albany’s athleticism.
“The defense did pretty well today,” senior midfielder Jenna Dougherty said. “Our slides were there. We forced turnovers when we needed them … but we also need to step up and play tougher, and have more of an intimidating presence on the field.”
Although the outcome was never in doubt, the Tribe did make a few explosive plays. After taking a high late hit, to which some fans demanded an ejection, freshman attacker Shannon Quinn showed determination as she put in a goal for the College on the ensuing 8 meter free-position shot.
Transitional defense, which was a weakness for the Tribe against U.Va., showed major improvement with multiple Albany fast breaks being stalled out. Fast break offense performed even better. On an errant Albany pass, Dougherty secured a groundball and the Tribe attack immediately set up in a textbook 5-on-4 fast break. After four perfect passes, sophomore attack Zoe Boger fired a shot into a goal at close range. Dougherty indicated that the team had strongly focused on transitional lacrosse in practice.
However, the Great Danes outplayed the Tribe for the entirety of the contest. The Great Danes won the groundball, turnover, and draw battle. For the second consecutive game, the College lost several possessions on bad passes, turning the ball over 16 times. In almost all statistical categories, the team regressed from its competitive outing against Virginia Tech.
“I am disappointed,” Fratzke said. “I think that’s the first time I’ve said that all year. My expectations for this team are high. It wasn’t so much a lack of individual effort so much as a team ‘let’s come together and get this done’ mentality. There was definitely a failure on my part to prepare this team mentally for the game.”
The Tribe continued to rotate goalies as they have all season. Both sophomore Meredith Crizer and senior Colleen Nofi played in the game. Fratzke stated that both goalies are talented and competitive in practice. The rotation allows each an opportunity to make game-changing saves.
The College travels to play Richmond Friday. The game is set to start at 6 p.m.