Thursday, Aug. 31, William and Mary women’s soccer (3-0-3) defeated George Mason (0-6, 0-0 A10) 4-0 at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field in Williamsburg, Va.
The Tribe benefited from the performances of rookies and transfers, with three separate players scoring their first collegiate goals during the dominant performance.
The home side entered the match as favorites, maintaining an unbeaten streak through its first five games of the season. The visiting Patriots settled into a low-block defense early into the game, forcing the Tribe to pass the ball from side to side for long stretches.
However, the Tribe was unable to convert its overwhelming possession into clear cut chances for most of the first half. Sophomore defender Nora Green-Orset came closest to scoring during the period, but her 20th minute half-volley from close range was saved by freshman Patriots goalkeeper Ginny Fronk.
Just when it appeared that George Mason would be able to sneak into half-time with a clean sheet, William and Mary freshman midfielder Lindsay Wilson opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Sophomore forward Madison Moon flicked a right-sided corner from fifth-year midfielder Kayleigh Shackford towards the Patriots goal using her head, but it was cleared off the line. Luckily, it bounced straight to the feet of Wilson, who tapped in the rebound into the bottom left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later, the Green and Gold doubled its lead. Freshman defender Molly Widderich forced a turnover in George Mason’s defensive third before sliding a through ball to Wilson, who took the ball in stride as she dribbled into the left side of the box. Despite pressure from a defender, she managed to squeeze a shot off from a tight angle onto the far post and into the net. Wilson’s first half brace marked the first two goals of her collegiate career.
The Tribe picked up right where it left off after the halftime break, controlling the flow of the game and applying pressure to the Patriots goal. Despite this pressure, the George Mason defense held firm, limiting William and Mary to one shot on goal through the opening 25 minutes of the second half. It took a superb strike from senior midfielder Maya Haghighi to finally add a third goal for the home side in the 74th minute.
Following a free kick on the far side of the field, junior forward Marisa McClure delivered a cross to the right side of the box. Despite being under pressure from a defender, Wilson flicked the ball to the top of the box to the on-rushing Haghighi, taking the shot on a half-volley into the top left corner of the net.
Freshman forward Ava Marvin wrapped up the goal frenzy in the 81st minute, scoring the Tribe’s fourth and final goal off a breakaway following a missed clearance from a George Mason defender. Marvin joined Haghighi in scoring her first career goal during the second half of the match.
With the resounding victory, the Tribe marked the fourth occasion in 20 years in which it started the first five matches of a season undefeated, including the first time since 2013. William and Mary recorded a total of 19 shots on the night, with 10 on target.
Speaking after the match, head coach Julie Shackford praised the team’s collective effort.
“A lot of people came off the bench and contributed great minutes,” Shackford said. “We stayed hungry the whole way through and put the pressure on [George Mason].”
Indeed, it was a substitute who made the biggest impact on the match. With her two goals and second-half assist, Wilson’s five points from the game took her to second place on the team this season, only behind sophomore forward Ivey Crain. She reflected on the team’s ability to change the flow of the game.
“That’s definitely something our team is scary with,” Wilson said. “Sometimes it takes another minute or a step, but once we’re in the routine, we get going.”
William and Mary faced Old Dominion (4-0-2, 0-0 SBC) in its next matchup on Sept. 3 in Norfolk, Va. The tightly contested bout resulted in a tie, continuing the Tribe’s historic six-game undefeated start to a season.
The Tribe will now look to challenge Colonial Athletic Association conference opponent Drexel (4-2, 0-0 CAA) in both team’s first conference game on Sept. 7 at Vidas Field in Philadelphia, Pa.