The conference opener against James Madison (7-5) offered William and Mary (2-9) the chance to turn a difficult season into a successful one through Colonial Athletic Association play. The Dukes had other plans, however, sealing an 18-11 victory with a dominant 8-0 run late in the second half.
In what has become a trend, the College started strong with an early 2-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game. Unassisted goals by junior midfielders Ellen Shaffrey and Amanda Johnson fueled the run. Unfortunately, despite the initial success, the Dukes stormed back with a 4-0 run just two minutes later. James Madison didn’t lose the lead through the rest of the game.
The Tribe ended the half on a positive note, with two goals by junior attack Alexi Farmakis, narrowing the Dukes’ lead to 10-6. The Dukes held slight advantages in several categories: 8-7 in turnovers, 9-6 in groundballs and 14-11 in shots. Despite the statistics, the College continued to find success off the draw and created an 11-7 lead in draw controls.
While James Madison outplayed the College in the first half, the game was far from over. However, an all too familiar weakness proved to be the Tribe’s Achilles’ heel yet again — shot placement.
The Dukes’ goalkeeper Schylar Healy made an incredible 11 saves against the Tribe’s attack. Healy has kept the Dukes competitive in previous games, managing 14 saves in a 12-10 loss against Virginia March 19. The Tribe’s inability to put shots away against previous opponents such as Virginia Tech or Albany suggests the offense hasn’t improved its shot placement in recent weeks.
After senior midfielder Jenna Dougherty’s goal off junior Alexi Farmakis’ assist early in the second half narrowed the margin to 10-7, Healy’s performance in the net contributed to an 8-0 Dukes run over the next twenty minutes. Long scoreless streaks continue to be a concern, although the Tribe’s advantages in draw controls and penalties (18-25) helped mitigate the Dukes’ time of possession.
Although the scoreboard would indicate otherwise, the College improved significantly in the turnover battle and forced six while only committing two in the second half.
Even though a win was well out of reach, the Tribe showed its resiliency with a 4-0 run of its own to close the game with two goals by junior attack Kaleigh Noon and one from Shaffrey, as well as sophomore midfielder Campbell Collier’s first of the season as time expired.
The College is now 32-30-1 against James Madison all-time, with the Dukes having won the last seven meetings. Saturday’s game was the CAA opener for both teams.
William and Mary will face CAA-opponent Towson (7-6, 2-1 CAA) April 11 on the road. Just 48 hours later, the College plays another conference game at Delaware (9-4, 2-1 CAA) April 13.