Women's lacrosse falls to William & Mary, 16-12 despite Hilderbrandt's strong performance

Allie Hilderbrandt scored six goals in Mason's loss to William & Mary Sunday (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).
Allie Hilderbrandt scored six goals in Mason's loss to William & Mary Sunday (Photo courtesy of Mason Athletics).

A stellar performance by senior Allie Hilderbrandt was not enough for the George Mason University lacrosse team to overcome William & Mary on Senior Day for its first Colonial Athletic Association win this season. Hilderbrandt scored career-high six goals, but the Patriots lost 16-12..

The loss was the sixth straight for Mason (6-11, 0-7 CAA) against the Tribe. Mason coach Lauren Hay, who completed her fifth season with the team, said motivating her team in such a situation can be a challenge and that she finds help in Hilderbrandt and the other seniors on the team – Kaylee Mikolon, Alison Pinard, Ashley Argyros, Danielle Woll, Caitlin Formato, Brittany Pastrana, and Shelby Cohen.

 “The team’s very close,” Hay said. “Having eight seniors, they are all big personalities and they’re really great at keeping the team’s energy up and getting the girls excited for each game.”

Without senior Caitlin Formato, who was out with a concussion, the team wanted to win one for her in what would be the final game of her lacrosse career at Mason.

“Well, we just wanted to go out with a bang,” Hilderbrandt said after the game. “I mean, we had our senior Caitlin Formato out with a concussion, so personally I was playing out there for her. All of us, as a team, were playing for her and for each other. And we wanted to come out with a win, but if that didn’t happen at least we wanted to have fun and play for each other.”

Although the head-to-head statistics favored the Tribe (2-5, 5-11), there was no sign of intimidation in the Mason players in the first half. Although the Tribe managed to pull ahead on five occasions, Hilderbrandt – with the help of Katie Mascolo (a goal and an assist), Rachel Obregon (two goals, three assists), and Kirstin Russell (a goal) – brought the home side on level terms.

It seemed that the score would remain unchanged before halftime due to Mason’s good defensive pressure, but a moment of genius by Amanda Johnson gave William & Mary a 6-5 lead only two seconds before halftime.

 However, the picture quickly changed in the second half. A few minutes of weakness on Mason’s part allowed the Tribe to score three unanswered goals and eventually extend their lead to four, 10-6.

“[William & Mary] got a lot of quick-stick goals,” Hay said. “A lot of [them] were just off the transition and [us] organizing [ourselves] defensively. We counteracted that by having two of our defenders drop low and kind of help organize going in off of transition. That seemed to help stop the bleeding. It was just a quick adjustment to the quick transition [and] the quick-stick goals.”

Mason managed a run on their own, cutting the lead to one at 11-10 at the 13:58 mark, but three goals by William & Mary within the next 90 seconds – two from Kyrstin Mackrides (five goals, an assist) and one from Kaleigh Noon (a goal, two assists) – did damage which Mason could not repair, despite scoring two of the final three goals of the game.

“I think that we played really well,” said Hilderbrandt. “I think that everyone gave it their all. Just little tweaks here and there might do it for us, but I think that we all performed at the highest level that we could. [The game] shows that Mason’s lacrosse can come back next year or two years from now and be a powerhouse in – now – the Atlantic-10. I think we showcased what we can do and what we can do in the future.”

Likewise, Hay praised her players for all the hard work done during the enduring season. However, like every other coach, she sees room for improvement.

“It’s a tough conference, so I’m really proud of the way the girls have played this season, as far as our shots on cage, [which] definitely outweighed, probably doubled what we had in the past in CAA games. And again, controlling the control balls, that is something we’ll work on with the returners coming back next year, and making sure those hustle stats – the draw controls, the ground balls, the turnovers – are limited and that’s going to be a difference in the scores.”

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