COLLEGE PARK -- In the first six minutes yesterday, Maryland goalie Alex Kahoe showed No. 15 William and Mary just how tough it would be to get past the No. 1 Terrapins.
Kahoe made four saves, including a split-second deflection of a back-handed shot, to set the tone for a 14-4 victory over the Tribe at Ludwig Field. The junior All-American finished with 13 saves, none of them easy, as the Terps improved to 14-0.
"Alex is always a huge difference," said Terps defensive midfielder Courtney Martinez. "We do as much as we can to help her, but she always seems to come up with big saves. That's why she's one of the best goalies in the country."
At the end of last week, Kahoe had posted the lowest goals-against average (5.76) in Division I. Yesterday, that statistic dropped to 5.5.
Although the Terps only outshot the Tribe by 29-21, and William and Mary had an edge in ground balls (29-27) and draw controls (11-9), Kahoe managed to stifle the Tribe for all but two brief spans. She allowed just two goals in each half -- within 32 seconds of each other late in the first and within 1: 10 of each other midway through the second.
"A lot of times, you can get away with cheap goals or get some trash goals in there, but she just is a real clean goalie," said Dani Vissers, who scored all four Tribe goals. "The biggest thing about her is not just the marvelous saves, it's the amazing clears she gets out. They're not always right on the money, but they're so fast, which makes it so hard to recover."
Kahoe's early saves provided an extra spark for an already blistering attack that leads the nation in scoring offense with a 16.14 average.
"It really helps momentum for myself and for the team," said Kahoe. "To be able to come up with [early saves] really sets the tone for now here we go, now we're on the run and ready to set up the offense."
While the Tribe struggled to get something past Kahoe, seven players gave the Terps a 7-0 lead. Alison Comito, Meredith Egan, Kristin Sommar, Christie Jenkins, Tori Wellington, Meghan McNamara and Quinn Carney each scored in the first 18 minutes.
Vissers finally skimmed a low, free-position shot past Kahoe with 10: 54 left in the first half. Just 33 seconds later, Amy Pugno connected with Vissers to pull the Tribe within 7-2.
Despite their 6-9 record, the Tribe has not had a bad season. It's lost eight games to teams ranked in the Top 10 -- five of them by three goals or less.
Knowing that, Terps coach Cindy Timchal called a timeout after Vissers started zeroing in.
"We were up 7-0 and maybe we let up a little bit," said Timchal. "I just wanted to make sure we kept our focus and intensity and, with 12 minutes to go, make sure we continued to play at our level."
The four-time defending national champs responded with goals from Jen Adams and Jenkins to pull ahead 9-2 at the half. After Kahoe opened the second half with another save on a close-range shot, Comito scored two goals and Jenkins another for a 12-2 lead.
Yesterday's victory marked the 21st straight win for the Terps as they head into this weekend's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C.
William and Mary 2 2 -- 4
Maryland 9 5 -- 14
Goals: WM--Vissers 4; M--Comito 3, Jenkins 3, Adams 2, Carney 2, Sommar, Wellington, McNamara, Egan. Assists: WM--Pugno; M--Jenkins 3, Comito 2, Adams 2, Carney, Sommar, Egan. Saves: WM--Orsi 9, Pheiffer 2; M--Kahoe 13.
Pub Date: 4/22/99