Lacrosse: Patriot offense unstoppable, Tribe drops second straight game to open season

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Jamie Holt / The Flat Hat

Saturday, Feb. 15, William and Mary (0-2) faced off against George Mason University (1-1) at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Virginia. The Tribe was coming off a 12-16 loss to Villanova in their season opener a week earlier. The College looked to get its first win of the season, but ultimately came up short to the Patriots, losing 11-20.   

The Patriots kicked off the game early, scoring their first goal in the first minute of the game. This goal came when Patriot attacker Deanna Balsama assisted Patriot midfielder Erin Donoghue on her first goal of the season. Under two minutes later, the Patriots’ Balsama was assisted by midfielder Olivia O’Brien for her third goal of the season. 

 The Tribe needed to respond to their twopoint deficit, and they did when Tribe junior attacker Sophie Kopec, assisted by freshman attacker Sarah Cipolla, scored her second goal of the season. The Tribe tied the Patriots shortly after with a goal from Cipolla, the impressive freshman putting up her third goal for the season.  

Now at 2-2 after an action-packed first five minutes, the speed of play slowed as both the Tribe and the Patriots looked to establish a rhythm. At 20:26, the Patriots were a man-up due to a yellow card on Tribe freshman midfielder Caroline Donovan, and the Patriots’ Donoghue took advantage of this opportunity. With an assist from Patriot defender Julianna Brown, Donoghue scored her second goal of the season and the Patriots’ third of the game.  

Thirty seconds later, the Patriots scored again, this time through an unassisted goal by Patriot attacker Hailey Johnson, her second of the season. Soon after, Patriot defender Natalya Moody fouled, giving the Tribe a free position attempt. On this attempt, Tribe sophomore attacker Belle Martire scored, which was already her sixth goal of the season. A foul by Tribe sophomore midfielder Grace Ahonen gave the Patriots a free position shot soon after the Tribe’s score 

On this free position attempt, the Patriots’ dominant Donoghue scored her third goal of the season and the Patriots’ fifth of the game. A minute later Donoghue scored once more, again assisted by Balsama, to put the Patriots up 6-3 over the Tribe. At 13:09, Martire was assisted by Tribe sophomore midfielder Sophia King to put the Tribe at a two-point deficit. However, the Patriots widened the gap once more with two goals, both by Patriot midfielder Abby Folker 

Ten minutes elapsed as the Patriots held an 8-4 lead over the Tribe, who looked to stop the aggressive Patriots from scoring. However, they could only be held off so long. Patriot attacker Phoebe Nelson was assisted by Patriot midfielder Christina Romano to score the Patriots’ ninth goal of the game, and Nelson’s first goal of the season. With three minutes left in the half, Johnson scored another goal for the Patriots, followed by a Patriot goal from Balsama a few minutes later on a free position attempt. Going into halftime, the Tribe were trailing 11-4, and looking to readjust and come back stronger in the next half.  

In the beginning of the second half, the Tribe came out with a new tenacity, scoring four unanswered goals within the first seven minutes. Martire scored on a free position attempt, followed by a goal from senior attacker Meredith Hughes, another from Martire and finally a goal from senior midfielder Nikky Price, her first of the season. Now trailing 8-11, the Tribe had the momentum to keep the Patriots on their toes and possibly come back from their large deficit. However, this momentum was decisively shut down by the Patriots.  

Donoghue scored a goal, followed by a man-up goal from Patriot attacker Phoebe Nelson, assisted by Patriot attacker Tristan Usher. The Patriots had five more unanswered goals within the next 10 minutes by Brown, Folker, Johnson, Donoghue and Johnson once more, in that order. Now up 18-8 with seven minutes left, the Patriots had the game sealed. However, the Tribe did not give up the fight. Price and Ahonen both scored to put the Tribe into double digits, now trailing the Patriots 10-18 with six minutes left. The Patriots answered with two more goals, one free position goal by Folker and one goal by Usher assisted by Patriot midfielder Niki Baker. The final goal of the game came with one minute left when Tribe freshman attacker London Simonides scored on a free position shot.  

The game ended with the Patriots defeating the Tribe 20-11. The Tribe is now on a two-game losing streak to start off the season. In the next game, the Tribe will look to get their first win of the year when they come home to face Old Dominion University on Feb. 19 at Busch Field in Williamsburg at 5 p.m.