Two weekends ago, William and Mary played its season opener at top-ranked Maryland. The College got off to a slow start against the best team in the nation and was unable to come back in the second half, ultimately falling 18-7 to the Terrapins. This week, the Tribe played its first two home games at Martin Family Stadium. Tuesday, the College used a stellar first-half performance capped off by seven straight goals before the break to cruise to a 15-9 victory over Longwood. Sunday, the Tribe took another commanding lead at the end of the first half and held on for its second straight win after a tight second half against Davidson.
Junior attacker Eloise Gagnon opened the scoring in the game for the Tribe (2-1) with an unassisted goal nearly three minutes after the opening whistle. However, over the next eight minutes, the Lancers (1-2) scored three unanswered goals to give them a two-goal lead. In a first half defined by scoring runs, the College responded to take a two-goal advantage of its own with four consecutive goals. Junior attacker Maddie Torgerson and senior attacker Abby Corkum each netted two goals in this stretch, as the College regained the lead, 5-3, with just under 18 minutes to play in the first half. All four goals were scored in a two-minute span. After the Lancers cut the margin to one goal, the Tribe went on a game-defining run in the last 10 minutes of the opening half, when six players scored a total of seven goals.
The College held a 12-4 lead at the break due to a potent offensive attack and balanced scoring effort. At halftime, four players had scored multiple goals for the Tribe. Gagnon, Corkum and freshman attacker Sophie Kopec each had two goals, while Torgerson ended the first half with a hat trick to lead the College with three goals.
“I think [balanced scoring] speaks to the team chemistry,” head coach Hillary Fratzke said.
The Tribe conceded the first goal of the second half, but the teams traded goals for the first 15 minutes as the Lancers were unable to manufacture enough scoring to significantly cut into the College’s definitive lead. The Lancers outscored the Tribe in the second half, but only scored five goals in the final 30 minutes and never cut the Tribe’s lead any closer than six. That was the final margin, with the Tribe coasting to its first victory of the season, 15-9. The Lancers were led by defender Charleigh Kondas’ hat trick. Torgerson led the College and finished with a game-high four goals and an assist.
“I think Longwood was a really good opportunity to kind of utilize a lot of people on the team and kind of give everyone a little bit of confidence,” Gagnon said.
Looking to win its second game of the season and finish the week undefeated, the College got off to a fast start against the Wildcats (2-1), with Gagnon ripping a shot past goalkeeper Rose Woolson in the first minute of the game. Less than two minutes later, Gagnon assisted on senior midfielder Cameron MacDonald’s goal to give the Tribe a quick 2-0 advantage.
“It’s awesome when we can score right away, because it shows the defense that we’re trying to keep them on their toes and that we’re not letting up at all,” Gagnon said.
The College continued its hot start, claiming a 5-1 lead with just under 17 minutes to play in the opening half. However, the Wildcats bounced back with three straight goals, including two by midfielder Shannon Blee. Clinging to a 5-4 lead, the Tribe went on another scoring run to cap off the first half. In the span of five minutes, the College netted four goals and held a 9-4 lead at halftime.
The Tribe was dominant on draws, winning 10 of the 14 opening draws in the first half. Seven players scored in the first half for the College, including senior midfielder Danielle Palmucci and MacDonald, who netted two goals each.
After a slow start to the second half, the Wildcats scored three goals in under 90 seconds with just under 22 minutes to play in the game, bringing them within two goals of the Tribe’s lead. Blee scored the Wildcats’ first goal during that stretch, giving her three goals for the afternoon. With over 19 minutes to play, the College finally scored its first goal of the second half to push its lead back up to three at a score of 10-7. Senior attacker Alexandria Specht scored the goal for the Tribe, her second of the day. After scoring four goals earlier this week against the Lancers, Torgerson picked up her first goal of the day with 17:30 remaining to push the College’s lead back up to four goals.
“I think it was a lot of movement by my teammates that was able to get me open in the second half … I think we just put the ball in the net when we needed to,” Torgerson said.
The Wildcats refused to go quietly though and midfielders Katie Woodruff and Sophia Sgroi each scored goals to cut the deficit to 11-9 with 10 minutes left in the game. However, the Tribe was able to put the finishing touches on its second consecutive win, ultimately earning a 12-9 victory.
“I think a win is always helpful for just reinforcing the things that we’re practicing,” Fratzke said.
The Tribe will hit the road again next week, looking to pick up its first victory away from Martin Family Stadium. The College will travel to Charlottesville Feb. 28 to square off against in-state rival Virginia. The undefeated and nationally ranked Cavaliers will pose another stiff challenge for a Tribe squad that will be looking for its third straight victory in non-conference play.
“We can do the technical fixes and everything in practice, but if they have the right mindset of playing together then that’s really all we can ask for,” Fratzke said.