William and Mary thrash Elon in thunderous Senior Day win, 18-7

COURTESY PHOTO // TRIBE ATHLETICS The Tribe picked up a Senior Day win against Elon in dominant fashion, winning 18-7. Despite this, William and Mary are out of playoff contention due to Delaware's win against Towson.

Saturday, April 29, William and Mary (8-8, 3-4 CAA) lacrosse beat Elon (4-12, 0-7 CAA) 18-7 at Martin Family Stadium in Williamsburg, Va.

In front of a 342-strong crowd, the Tribe overcame an early setback to secure its biggest victory of the season on Senior Day. Senior attacker London Simonides capped off her Tribe career with a personal best five goals along with an assist. Senior midfielder Sarah Cipolla recorded a game-high nine draw controls to raise her season total to 68. Her 177 career draw controls set a new program record as well. Senior goaltender Claudia Hoeg made her first career start, recording one save before being subbed off for sophomore goaltender Elise Palmer. 

After dropping crucial points during last week’s loss against conference rival Monmouth, the Tribe needed a win against Elon and losses from Monmouth and Delaware to qualify for the Colonial Athletic Association Quarterfinals. 

The Tribe struggled at the start of the match, falling behind 3-0 in the first quarter. Elon sophomore attacker Cierra Hopson opened the scoring inside five minutes, bagging her 34th goal of the season. Elon senior attacker Hannah McCarthy and sophomore midfielder Sammy Fisher added two more in the 10th and 14th minutes, respectively. On the other hand, the Tribe struggled to convert scoring chances despite attempting eight shots in the first quarter, including three free position shots. Cipolla came closest, rattling an attempt off the post late in the quarter. 

The Tribe responded quickly following the break, with sophomore midfielder Paige Gilbert notching her 13th goal of the season 35 seconds into the second quarter for the Tribe’s first of points of the day. Elon senior midfielder Kaley Ehnow restored the Phoenix’s three-goal lead less than a minute later, converting on her attempt to make the score 4-1. 

The Tribe offense worked hard to make up the deficit. First, sophomore midfielder Justyce Barber cut inside the 12-meter arc from behind the Elon goal before firing a shot past Phoenix freshman goaltender Caitlin Walsh. Simonides then netted two goals for the Tribe in the fifth and eighth minutes, the first of which came off an assist from sophomore midfielder Serena Jacobs. Jacobs turned provider again for the next Tribe goal, with sophomore attack Sam Van Gieson leveling the score at 5-5 with three minutes, 20 seconds left in the quarter. With four seconds left in the quarter, Gilbert scored her second of the match to give William and Mary its first lead of the game heading into halftime.

It was Elon’s turn to respond in the beginning of the second half as Fisher leveled the score just over two minutes into the third quarter. But the Tribe’s attack continued to convert chances, fueled by a strong performance on faceoffs from sophomore midfielder Ainsley Huizenga, who recorded seven draw controls. Sophomore midfielder Miranda Bate’s first and Simonides’ third goal of the game extended the Tribe’s lead to 8-6 before Elon’s Fisher bagged a hat trick of her own to halve the deficit with 10 minutes, 44 seconds left in the quarter. 

Despite both teams recording nine shots in the third quarter, the Tribe’s improved finishing ability proved to be the difference. Gilbert completed the Tribe’s second hat trick of the day with eight minutes, 51 seconds left in the quarter before Jacobs added another late goal to establish a comfortable three-goal lead heading into the final period of play. 

William and Mary’s offensive dominance continued in the fourth quarter, with the Tribe converting on eight out of nine shots on goal. Cipolla scored less than a minute into the period, followed by Barber’s unassisted finish to make the score 12-7. Barber scored her third goal of the day with 8 minutes, 42 seconds left on the clock to take her to a career-high 18 total for the season. Simonides grabbed her fifth and final goal less than 15 seconds later to make it 16-7.

Following a brief lull in the scoresheet, Jacobs netted a shot from a free position, marking the only successful attempt for either side. Then, with just over a minute remaining in the game, senior midfielder Sydney Sloan put one last Tribe shot past Phoenix goaltender Walsh to cap off a 10-goal unanswered streak. It marked the first goal of the season for Sloan, who missed the entirety of last season with a foot injury. 

The 18-7 score marked the Tribe’s largest win of the season. William and Mary dominated both shots and draw controls, outpacing Elon 40-28 and 21-8, respectively. Defensively, sophomore goaltender Elise Palmer recorded eight stops, including seven in the second half, for a .615 save percentage. 

Following the final whistle, the Tribe honored the five seniors on this year’s squad: Cipolla, Simonides, defender Caroline Donovan and goaltender Claudia Hoeg. Friends and family cheered as the stadium announcers read out the seniors’ names and future plans. Afterwards, Simonides reflected on her four years with the William and Mary program, reserving praise for the camaraderie of the squad.

“I think as time goes on, the one thing that stays constant is the people,” Simonides said. “No matter who came in, no matter who graduated, everybody was always amazing and always giving 110%, which I think is a really special thing.” 

Simonides also cited the youthfulness of the squad as a major factor in this season’s improved performance and believes they have what it takes to improve in 2024. 

“I think next season is going to be a big one for Tribe [Lacrosse],” Simonides said. “They’re going to come out, they’re going to go to the CAA playoffs and they’re going to win it.”

Despite the lopsided victory and a Monmouth loss to Drexel, Delaware’s victory against Towson eliminated William and Mary from playoff contention. The Tribe ended the season in sixth place with a 3-4 conference record, marking an improvement from 2022, where the program ended 0-6 in the CAA.


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