April 8, 2011

No. 17 W&M Grinds Out Win Over Mason

from press release

FAIRFAX, Va. - The College William and Mary's 17th -ranked women's lacrosse team used tenacious defense and an opportunistic offense to scrap out a hard-fought 6-5 win at George Mason University on Friday evening.

"We had a little difficulty getting the ball in the back of the net," said W&M Head Coach Christine Halfpenny. "A lot of credit has to go to George Mason's keeper, Brittany Pastrana, because she was a difference maker this evening.  But, the story of the game was our transition and settle defense.  We remained poised and rose to every challenge."

The game was the Tribe's conference opener and improved the team's record to 6-4 on the year.  The Patriots fell to 3-8 on the year and 0-2 in league play.

Overall, the Tribe's attack generated 30 shots (to Masons' 10), while the Green and Gold defense matched its attack by creating 30 turnovers.  

After Mason ended a back-and-forth first half with a slim 5-4 lead, the game turned on the Tribe's ability to control the defensive end of the field and possess the ball.  The Tribe allowed only two shots over the final 30 minutes of play, including none of the final 17 minutes.

In the second half, the Tribe's Jenny Michael equalized the game off a helper from senior forward Ashley Holofcener with 26:11 remaining.  The College went ahead for good after Kyrstin Mackrides found twine with 22:16 (her 20th score of the season).   From that point forward, senior keeper Emily Geary (three saves) combined with the midfield and defense to preserve the lead.

Perhaps the biggest plays of the contest for the College came in the last two minutes, with George Mason threatening in the offensive third, Tribe seniors in Grace Golden and Molly Wannen stepped up large to create defensive stops.  Wannen's effort came after she broke up a Patriot pass attempt and then collected a decisive ground ball with just 27 seconds remaining.

Overall, Tewaarton Award (the lacrosse equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) candidate Sarah Johnson led the game with three caused turnovers and also contributed three ground balls.  Junior Denise Lenihan played one of her finest collegiate games in her hometown of Fairfax by gaining six-ground balls.

The Tribe received first half goals from senior attacker Maggie Anderson (24th on the season), Golden (36), Mackrides and junior Stephanie Steinweg (5).

William and Mary's next action will come this Sunday, as they face off against conference arch-rival James Madison.  The opening draw is schedule to take place at 1:00 pm.

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