While William and Mary head coach Brooke Ireland likely wouldn’t boast about her squad’s 2-4 record heading into Wednesday night’s matchup against Virginia, she could certainly claim that her squad has faced its fair share of healthy competition. In previous weeks, Ireland’s young squad had faced No. 5 Duke, No. 2 Maryland and No. 1 Northwestern, losing to all three. As a result, a victory against the No. 10 Cavaliers would have represented a major turning point in the season and the team’s first win over a ranked opponent this season.
The Tribe’s quest for an in-state upset began well, but U.Va.’s second-half offensive explosion proved too much for the College, resulting in a 10-3 Cavalier victory at Martin Family Stadium.
The game started off slowly, as neither team scored until nearly 10 minutes after the opening tip. The two squads battled back and forth until a Tribe foul set up U.Va.’s Liza Blue with a free position shot that she converted into a goal. Blue’s goal with twenty minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead to start the match.
From there, U.Va. continued to apply the offensive pressure. After a pair of missed shots by Julie Gardner and Charlie Finnegan, Virginia’s Katie Slater took advantage of another free position shot to put U.Va. up 2-0. Just over a minute later, U.Va.’s Josie Owen fed Ainsley Baker a beautiful pass that Baker sent hurtling into the net to give the Cavaliers a 3-0 advantage with 16:32 remaining.
Facing a sudden 3-0 deficit, the College dug in and responded with a run of its own. Sophomore midfielder Katie Stillwell notched a goal for the Tribe with 13:18 left in the opening half. Following another Virginia goal, sophomore attacker Jenna Dougherty added another score, cutting the deficit to two. Neither team could score again before the end of the half and the visiting Cavaliers took a 4-2 lead into the intermission.
The second half began in similar fashion, as both squads were locked in a defensive struggle for the first 10 minutes. Virginia then suddenly broke the struggle by scoring two goals in quick succession, as Slater’s goal at the 19:50 mark was followed 32 seconds later by another U.Va. goal.
Twelve more minutes ticked off the clock before another flurry of offensive activity. Blue, Julie Gardner and Sloan Warren all added Cavalier goals within a 1 minute, 30 second span to give a commanding 9-2 lead with 5:27 remaining. The two schools then traded goals in the final minutes, resulting in the eventual 10-3 margin of victory.
Overall, the College struggled to find offensive rhythm. The Cavaliers outshot the Tribe 26-14, as the College managed just four shots in the opening period. The Tribe also paid dearly for its fouls, as the Cavaliers converted two of its three free position shots into goals. Freshman goalkeeper Lucy Ferguson made nine saves, but surrendered 10 goals while her Virginia counterpart, Kim Kolarik, allowed just three goals and recorded eight saves.
Individually, senior attacker Maggie Anderson, junior attacker Kyrstin Mackrides and Dougherty accounted for most of the College’s offensive production. Anderson and Dougherty both recorded three shots apiece, while Mackrides was the Tribe’s most active offensive player, recording five shots. Stillwell recorded just one shot, but slipped it past Kolarik for one of the College’s three goals of the evening.
While the College failed to overcome Virginia’s streaky shooters, the Tribe will look to right the ship Saturday against another top 10 team when No. 6 Florida visits Martin Family Stadium at 1 p.m.