William and Mary suffered two losses during its opening weekend. No. 6 Virginia shut out the Tribe in an agonizing 9-0 loss Friday, before Richmond defeated the College 2-1 Sunday.
UVa. (1-1) scored the first goal of the season six minutes into Friday’s game after Virginia striker Riley Tata tipped the ball in from the far side. The Cavaliers continued to score at a regular pace despite fairly even possession.
“Obviously [it is] a very disappointing result, especially for our opening weekend,” senior forward Emma Clifton said. “There was a lot of even possession … we were really careless with the ball — gave it up way too much — and that’s just really what cost us the game.”
Senior defender Jesse Ebner left the game early in the first period after an injury, forcing the Tribe to recalibrate its defensive play.
“[Ebner] is our main fallback, so that hurt us a little bit and I was playing fallback, which I don’t usually play, so we had a bit of change in positions,” Clifton said.
Head coach Tess Ellis noted Ebner’s injury as a key factor in the loss.
“Losing [Ebner] in the first ten minutes of play took the wind out of our backfield, so we sort of had to rally and drop back our other captain Emma Clifton,” Ellis said.
Virginia capitalized on the vulnerability, scoring four goals off of three assists in the first period, and five goals off four assists in the second. Three goals came off corners. The Tribe ended the game with just a single shot on goal, while UVa. ended with 25.
Despite allowing nine goals, junior goalkeeper Meredith Savage did save 12 shots.
“To have a goal keeper who’s making 12 big saves against a No. 6 team in the country, that’s a positive sign for our defense,” Ellis said. “We’ve just got to get a couple of the young kids on board really quick, so we can get a little bit more unity in the backfield and get up into our forwards. We’ve got speed in our forwards — we’ve just got to do a better job of getting it to them. “
At Richmond on Sunday, junior defender Peyton Smith scored her first collegiate goal, putting the Tribe ahead 16 minutes into the first period. Ten minutes later, however, Richmond forward Allison Siegal answered with a goal to tie the game after 26 minutes.
Richmond dominated offensively during the second period, tallying six shots on goal to the Tribe’s one. Overall, the Spiders totaled 12 shots on goal while the Tribe managed five.
Eight minutes into the second period, Richmond gained the lead and would not lose it for the remaining 27 minutes. Savage came up with four saves.
Looking forward, the College aims to regain momentum from the preseason.
“We just talked about keeping positivity strong, just really keeping possession of the ball,” Clifton said after Friday’s loss. “We keep getting it and then giving it away, and it’s just not really what we usually do at practice and what we usually do in our other scrimmages.”
The Tribe, now 0-2 on the season, faces Central Michigan Friday and No. 17 Michigan Saturday.