William and Mary appears to have the ball rolling again after their win against the Wildcats of New Hampshire Friday evening in Williamsburg. Coming off of consecutive losses to nationally ranked Old Dominion and Duke, the William and Mary took down the Wildcats by a score of 3-2 in a tightly contested match at Busch Field.
New Hampshire (2-5) came out of the gate strong, pressuring William and Mary (4-3) and putting up the first five shots of the game. Only one of those attempts was on target, however, and William and Mary senior Meredith Savage was able to make one of her three saves of the day.
After having withstood the initial onslaught, William and Mary had a flurry of shots of their own. After a save from Wildcats’ goalie Melissa Rize and an off-target attempt from junior forward Olivia Hajek, junior forward Maria Jose Pastor slotted a diving shot by the keeper for her first goal of the season to put William and Mary up 1-0. The goal was set up by a beautiful one-touch cross from freshman forward Alayna Tomlinson, who put the ball in the perfect spot for Pastor to finish.
William and Mary flipped the script at the start of the second period, earning a pair of penalty corners in the opening minutes. After failing to convert on both opportunities, William and Mary took a 2-0 lead thanks to an unassisted goal from sophomore midfielder Emma MacLeod. The Richmond native streaked down the left-sideline cut into the circle, and, faced with a one-on-one opportunity with the Wildcat keeper, MacLeod found the angle for the shot to give William and Mary a bit of a cushion. The goal marks MacLeod’s fourth of the season.
Perhaps stepping off the gas a bit after taking the two-goal advantage, William and Mary surrendered their first score of the match just a minute and 44 seconds later. After a Wildcats’ attempt from the edge of the circle and a Melissa Rize save, New Hampshire’s Meg Flatley was able to clean up the mess with an awkward rebound score that cut William and Mary’s lead in half.
After a timeout at the 50 minute mark, William and Mary appeared to come out with a renewed energy, earning three penalty corners in the next six minutes and putting up four shots on goal. The Wildcats defense finally broke on the last attempt, as sophomore midfielder Erin Menges received the corner at the top of the circle and dished the ball off to her classmate Camie Lloyd, whose shot beat Rize easily and re-extended the Tribe’s lead to two. The assist was Menges’ sixth of the season, which leads the team and is tied for the Colonial Athletic Association lead. Lloyd found the back of the cage for her fifth goal of the 2015 season.
Lloyd was given a green card directly after the goal, however, which gave the Wildcats a man advantage. They did not waste the opportunity, and in similar fashion to their response to William and Mary’s second goal, the Wildcats were able to cut the lead to one. Gianna Bensaia beat Savage nearside with a booming shot from the right side of the circle, and just like that William and Mary’s two-goal advantage was back down to one.
The rest of the match played out rather tamely, with neither team mustering any serious scoring opportunities and William and Mary electing to play a more conservative defensive approach in order to salt away the victory. While both teams would finish with 10 shots, New Hampshire only managed to put half of theirs on target while William and Mary had eight shots on goal.
William and Mary will travel up to Charlottesville on Monday to take on the formidable No. 4 University of Virginia Cavaliers. It is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.