Despite starting all 37 games and playing the most minutes of any William and Mary player over the past two years, junior defender Laci Irvin entered the 2014 season without a goal. The first game of her 2014 campaign struck a different tone, however, as Irvin scored a golden goal in the 96th minute to propel the Tribe past George Mason Saturday afternoon and into a rousing win to start to the year.
Any momentum gained dissipated quickly Thursday against heavily favored Maryland. Terrapins forward Alex Doody scored two goals in the first 14 minutes of the match to kick-start her team’s 4-0 rampage over the Tribe in College Park, Md. The Terrapins had ten shots on goal to the Tribe’s five, and Maryland’s four-goal total is more than the College’s defense gave up in any game last year. Irvin managed just one shot, missing her target, on the afternoon.
Still, the Tribe can draw positives from its win over George Mason, which opened the College’s season on Aug. 24. Irvin may not have been the obvious choice to upend the stalemate against the Patriots — which had consumed the entire 90 minutes of regulation time — but the Tribe was consistently the more dangerous side on the pitch all Sunday afternoon. The Patriots managed just eight shots with two on goal, compared to the Tribe’s twelve and three.
Irvin’s goal may presage much more, as the stalwart defender looks ready to switch into a more aggressive role this year; she led the match with two shots on goal Sunday on the Patriots’ home turf in Fairfax, Va. Freshman midfielder Rachel Moore, who started and played all but seven minutes of her first collegiate match, found Irvin with a chance to score in front of the Patriots’ goal. Irvin didn’t hesitate, sending it across the goal and into the net for a rousing overtime win.
The Tribe’s strong 2013 campaign, which ended in penalty kick heartbreak against Northeastern in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, was anchored by a defense that refused to surrender easy goals. Casey led the CAA last year with a goals-against average of 0.91. After Sunday’s season opening shutout, she needs five more shutouts to tie her shutout record from last year.
Head coach John Daly, entering his 28th year at the College, started two other freshmen along with Moore. Forward Sami Grasso led the team with three shots in her first collegiate match, while defender Haley Kent helped man the trenches of the Tribe’s backline.
The College heads to George Washington this Sunday to try to regain form after their lopsided loss to Maryland. The Tribe’s first home match will be next Thursday, Sept. 4, against George Washington.