Saturday, Feb. 11, William and Mary (0-1) fell short to Villanova (1-0) 18-6 at Martin Family Stadium in Williamsburg, Virginia.
“The game was an incredible experience from start to finish,” senior attacker London Simonides said. “We were all so excited to hit the ground running.”
The Tribe started off hot on offense, with sophomore midfielder Serena Jacobs scoring in the first goal 32 seconds into the game. Despite the Tribe’s electric start, Villanova responded immediately with a goal from sophomore attacker Sydney Pappas. The Villanova goal evened up the score with 13 minutes, 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Villanova then took the lead with five minutes, six seconds remaining in the first period after a goal from freshman midfielder Maddie Luer. The Wildcats extended their lead with back-to-back goals from freshman midfielder Elena Torres. The Tribe answered on a goal from senior attacker London Simonides with two minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Tribe found themselves down 4-2 entering the second period.
The second quarter was more of the same, with Villanova graduate student attacker Caroline Curnal scoring two goals early on. Simonides tacked on her second goal of the day, bringing the score to 6-3. However, the Wildcats continued their relentless attack, adding three more goals from Pappas, Torres and Curnal. The half ended with Villanova on top, 9-3.
The Tribe started the second half strong with a goal from sophomore midfielder Paige Gilbert, assisted by senior midfielder Sarah Cipolla. Despite the Tribe’s strong start, Villanova responded with goals from Curnel and sophomore attacker Sami Carey, extending its lead to 11-4 at the conclusion of the third quarter.
The Tribe were unable to bring the game back into contention, even with goals from Cipolla and sophomore attacker Sam Van Gieson. Villanova ran away with their lead, scoring another six goals, despite the Tribe’s best efforts against the Wildcats’ unrelenting attack. The game ended with Villanova victorious, 18-6.
Villanova finished the match with nine free position shots, compared to just two for the Tribe. Both teams were even with 17 ground balls each. Villanova surrendered 13 turnovers, in comparison to the Tribe’s 12 turnovers. In draw controls, the Wildcats led 17-10.
Cipolla led the Tribe in points, securing two assists and six draw controls, as well as scoring a goal. Simonides led the Tribe in scoring with her two goals. Gieson, Gilbert and Jacobs all scored one goal apiece.
While this is decidedly a tough loss for the Tribe, they look forward to learning from this game and moving onto their next matchup.
“The game was an incredible experience from start to finish,” Simonides said. “There is a lot to learn from and [the team] is excited to move on to the next game. I’m looking forward to bringing the best version of our ‘Tribe Lacrosse Standard’ in everything we do and learning to improve with each opponent we face.”
According to Simonides, one of five seniors on the roster, the team will rely on their positive attitude throughout the season.
“We have fully adopted the ‘cherish’ culture mindset in everything we do,” Simonides said. “We are focused on enjoying the experience we have had and are about to have in our last season together. I can confidently say that Tribe Lacrosse has the best team culture in the country from top to bottom, staff to players; it’s what brought me here and it’s what keeps talent coming here year after year.”
The Tribe will travel to Old Dominion (1-1) on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at L.R. Hill Sports Complex in Norfolk, Virginia.