College claims ODU/Stihl tourney title

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September 16, 2008

5:34 PM

Despite missing scoring opportunities in a 2-2 tie against the University of Massachusetts, the College of William and Mary still took home the team title at the Old Dominion University/Stihl Soccer Classic on the strength of its goal differential in two weekend matches.

With the sun beating down on the pitch in Norfolk and temperatures in the lower 90s, both teams felt the effects of the heat. Substitutions flowed throughout the match and play suffered — especially on offense.
“It was a match where the team that battled and fought hardest was going to be rewarded,” Tribe Head Coach Chris Norris said of the double overtime draw. “It was a pretty fair result.”

Each team recorded 14 shots on the day, with the Minutemen registering eight on goal. Despite numerous opportunities, poorly timed connections resulted in a total of 14 offside calls.

Sixty minutes of scoreless play followed two first-half goals, and the match seemed destined for overtime until UMass forward Bryant Craft found the back of the net in the 84th minute. Craft’s shot ricocheted off a Tribe defender and the left hand of sprawling sophomore keeper Andrew McAdams before reaching the goal, giving the Minutemen a 2-1 lead with just over six minutes remaining.

With the 90-minute mark approaching, Norris shifted his lineup, inserting senior forward Nathan Belcher in place of sophomore back Michael DiNuzzo for more offensive firepower. The move worked and the College attacked, earning first a corner kick and then the game-tying goal.

Junior back Roger Bothe initiated the Tribe’s scoring sequence in the 87th minute, finding sophomore forward Alan Koger at the top of the box. Koger fed the ball to sophomore midfielder Nat Baako, the tournament’s MVP and CAA co-player of the week, who sent a low, rolling shot past All-American

Minutemen keeper Zack Simmons for his second goal of the match.

In the waning minutes of regulation, Bothe sent a couple of crosses, which failed to connect with teammates, into the box. The two overtime periods saw much of the same, though each team had scoring opportunities.

Five minutes into the first overtime period UMass forward Prince Ofosu faced a charging and an out-of-position McAdams, but failed to chip the ball high enough over McAdams. In the second overtime, junior midfielder Price Thomas led Koger a step too far, and Simmons snatched away the ball.

“It wasn’t a great performance given the conditions,” Norris said. “In the second half, UMass was better. That’s where we got a little loose.

“Going into overtime, I felt if someone was going to win, it was going to be us.”
The College attempted two shots in 20 minutes of overtime — so did UMass — and earned one corner kick, but failed to convert the chances into points.

Tribe 3 Central Florida 1

In Friday’s opener, the College scored the match’s final two goals to preserve a 3-1 victory over Central Florida University.

Koger’s breakaway goal in the 42nd minute gave the Tribe an early 1-0 lead, but the Black Knights knotted the score 15 minutes into the second half. The College kept attacking as junior forward Andrew Hoxie and Baako both contributed second-half goals to push the Tribe ahead.

The College returns to action tomorrow against no. 23 Loyola College (Md.) in Baltimore.

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