William and Mary opened Colonial Athletic Association play April 5 with a narrow 14-11 loss to Hofstra. The defeat is only the third road loss suffered by the Tribe this season.
The College stuck with the Pride through the first half, trailing by as many as three goals several times, yet always managing to claw its way back from certain defeat.
All of the Tribe’s 11 goals were scored by freshmen, owing entirely to the relentless midfield line consisting of freshmen Belle Martire, Lauren Russell and Grace Ahonen, who combined to put away all 11 of the College’s points.
The trio’s offensive prowess resulted in a 5-0 scoring run for the Tribe that continued after halftime to put the College up 10-8 five minutes into the second half. However, in the final 25 minutes of the game, the Tribe’s frenetic offensive pace began to slow and it scored only one more goal, Martire’s fourth and the College’s 11th, which put the Tribe up 11-10 with 13 minutes left.
The Pride answered with a deadly scoring run of its own, tacking on four unanswered goals to reach the match’s final score of 14-11. Despite the disappointing outcome in the win-loss column, the outing was not without bright spots for the Tribe. Freshman defender Starr Howard came away with five draw controls, yet another team high, increasing her season total to 54, just three below the single-season school record.
The College also committed two fewer turnovers than the Pride, pointing to the increasing efficiency and consistency of the Tribe’s offense. Though the Pride edged the College in caused turnovers and draw controls by one apiece, the narrow margin is indicative of the close game.
If the Tribe means to win in conference play this season, the defense will need to match the fervor the offense has found. Preventing scoring runs like the one that enabled Hofstra to claim victory Sunday requires consistency on the defensive side of things. Besides preventing scoring, defensive consistency is essential in getting the ball to the offense and enabling the Tribe’s top scorers to continue finding the back of the net.
This setback marks the end of a five–game road trip for the Tribe, whose previous three losses occurred by a margin of three goals or fewer. After a month away, the College will return home to Martin Family Stadium to face CAA rival Drexel Sunday, April 7.