There seems to be a trend among teams ranked No. 1 in the nation. They tend to have solid fundamentals, senior leadership, incredible talent and a tendency to win almost every single time they take the field. The story was no different when No. 1 University of Maryland left Martin Family Stadium after defeating William and Mary (0-1, 0-0 CAA) Sunday, 15-5.
After six minutes and 15 seconds, the Tribe found itself in an 8-0 deficit, as the Terrapin offense repeatedly raced down the field to shoot after controlling the draw. Whether it was against fast breaks, quick-stick shots from the crease or free position chances, the College’s defense simply could not find its footing.
Head coach Hillary Fratzke pulled junior goalie Meredith Crizer with the score at 5-0; however, after two consecutive fast breaks with two goals within six seconds and yet another free position shot for Maryland, it seemed the Tribe’s problems were not a matter of goalie confidence. Crizer returned to the game after about a minute and finished with six saves.
The offense finally pulled the Tribe out of the spiral, as freshman attacker Abby Corkum made a nifty pass behind the goal to senior midfielder Amanda Johnson, who cut inside for a shot on goal. Maryland’s keeper Alex Fitzpatrick made the save, but the College succeeded in creating some offensive momentum.
“I was really proud of the girls once getting down 8-0 and finally making the adjustment,” Fratzke said, “I told them [after the game,] ‘Take away that run and look at the score,’ and they said, ‘Yeah we know.’ So let’s make sure that we’re prepared to play in the first five minutes and start out strong.”
Slowly, the Tribe’s offense came to life, possessing the ball with crisp passing. Senior midfielder and captain Ellen Shaffrey saw some positives in the game despite the loss.
“Our attack incorporates everyone and we wait for the best opportunity there,” Shaffrey said. “Sometimes there is an opportunity, but we don’t want to force it and lose the ball, it’s about finding the open person and putting the shot away. “
Sophomore midfielder Lindsay Jenks buried a shot into the opposite low corner off a free position shot, putting the Tribe on the board at 21:24. Maryland made another save when Shaffrey passed to sophomore midfielder Shannon Quinn. Junior attack Zoe Boger took possession in the aftermath by scooping up the ball in traffic and rocketing a low shot in for the Tribe’s second goal at 18:54.
On defense, the Tribe staved off multiple Maryland plays, stonewalling the Terrapin attack with physical sliding right at the crease. Sophomore defender Julia McGrath led the defense, collecting seven of the Tribe’s 21 groundballs. With 12 minutes to play, McGrath picked off a Maryland pass and set up a textbook fast break. Shaffrey assisted Corkum for a one-on-one with the goalie; Corkum scored on the play.
However, the defending national champions (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) would not let the College extend the 3-0 run, and Maryland led 11-3 at the end of the first half.
The second half saw a major offensive deceleration for both squads, though Maryland gradually built its advantage to 14-3 in the first 12 minutes, en route to a eventual 4-2 margin for the second half. Freshman midfielder McKinley Wade added a goal off a free position shot; two minutes later, Corkum returned the assist favor to Shaffrey, who fired in the College’s final goal in the 15-5 loss. Despite the loss, the Tribe was excited about the second-half performance.
“We really saw all the work that we’ve been putting in for the past six months,” Shaffrey said. “We’ve realized how hungry we should be. We never quit playing the number one team in the nation and it just shows that the rest of the season is there for the taking.”
The College often faces top-tier opponents early in the season. Fratzke discussed how the team measures its success against highly-ranked opponents.
“The hustle stats, the groundballs and draw controls,” Fratzke said. “I definitely think we could’ve done better, but you definitely look at the energy across the board. Did they quit, and the answer is no. That, to me, is the most important thing and it drives us to success.”
The Tribe starts a series of road games in Durham, N.C. this Sunday with a game against No. 8 Duke, and does not return to Williamsburg until March 20.