If an exhibition match takes place, somewhere around 150 fans show up and the match ends in a tie, did it really happen? Think about that as you read through a retro-diary of the scrimmage between Liberty University and the College of William and Mary Thursday.
*6:58 p.m.:* We’re off! The Tribe comes out in a 4-4-2-67 — the 67 being the number of fans in the stands at the start of the game.
*7:00* Three minutes and junior back Nicolas Orozco misplays a ball that could have led to a goal, but Liberty is called offsides.
*7:03:* The ball comes flying in to press row. Exciting. Also exciting: junior back Michael DiNuzzo picking up a foul defending a break out on the right sideline.
*7:05:* The Tribe plays their second nice ball down the left side for senior forward Price Thomas. That part of the attack seems to be working well.
*7:07:* Sophomore forward Alan Kroger picks up a foul as he is boxed out in the Liberty box with one man to beat. Good chance for Kroger.
*7:09:* Head coach Chris Norris, “Mikey [DiNuzzo], when Jeremy [Harris] goes up, you’ve got to move over.”
*7:10:* Senior forward Andrew Hoxie brings the ball from front to back and fires a shot into the lower left corner. No dice, but nice move. Overheard on press row: “Is Liberty division one? Oh.”
*7:12* Hoxie taken down 25 yards out, setting up a free kick. Kroger heads the ball off the free kick, but it is stopped. Tribe looking good in the air so far.
*7:14:* Freshman midfielder Chris Perez makes a slick move, bringing the ball from behind his legs with his right foot to the front of his body, but gives the ball away. Perez is not intimated by the college stage — he’s giving out fouls rather than taking them.
*7:16:* Great give and go, Perez to Hoxie back to Perez. The freshman’s shot crosses in front of the goal from the right, though, and is cleared out.
*7:17:* Hoxie bulls over three or four Flames on his way to the goal before the ball is taken away. Impressive.
*7:22:* Liberty sends the ball over the back fence and in to the woods behind the goal. “Who’s going in with the snakes?” someone asks, as apparently a majority of the greater Williamsburg population of snakes lives behind the goal. Redshirt-freshman Matt Becker gets the unfortunate task.
*7:23:* Becker makes it back. Take that, snakes!
*7:24:* Thomas and Perez switch sides, Thomas moving from the left side to the right. Perez seems a skilled left-footed player.
*7:25:* Liberty sends a dangerous ball over the goal and then mounts another attack after the goal kick. Alright guys, that’s enough now.
*7:30:* Apparently if one would get a card today, it would count towards the next game which counts for real. The refs are doing a good job though, taking time to lecture players rather than card them.
*7:31:* Baako not looking great right now, making a great tackle but giving the ball away immediately after. Baako dealt with injury issues all spring, so it is to be expected that he’ll need some time to get back into game shape.
*7:35:* On the other hand Hoxie looks in mid season form, making a great move to settle the ball in the midfield.
*7:39:* Defense not looking sharp right now. To be fair, DiNuzzo didn’t play in the first scrimmage, however the back line needs to shore itself up quick before the season begins.
*7:43:* Both teams have a “Who can kick the ball the highest” contest before the end of the half as the horn sounds with the score 0-0. The Tribe has been the most dangerous team so far, but the backline’s struggles cause some concern. We’ll see how the second half plays out.
*8:00:* And we’re back. The Tribe has some of its subs in to start the half. The halftime entertainment, by the way: Preston Whitlock and one of his teammates playing air guitar to “Summer of ‘69”
*8:02:* Thomas getting his feet and quad iced up on the sideline. The stands have filled up to a decent sized crowd. Probably closer to 150 than 175 people, but we won’t quibble over details.
*8:04:* Norris: “Hey! Stop talking to the ref.” Sorry.
*8:07:* Debate in the press box now: Is the Midlands apartment complex the sketchiest place to live off campus? Discuss among yourselves.
*8:10:* Best play of the night. Redshirt-freshman midfielder Caleb Thomas lines up a penalty kick 20 yards out and bangs it off the cross bar. Baako then comes in and puts the rebound in the back of the net. 1-0, right? Wrong. Baako is ruled offsides and the score remains 0-0.
*8:11:* A fan from the stands texts to say Baako was onsides. Good news: he was in a great position to see the play. The bad news: that position was in the beer tent. Judge however ye may.
*8:13:* A great tackle from junior midfielder Jimmy Carroll just across the midfield line leads to a corner.
*8:13:* A corner which turns in to a Liberty breakaway, with junior back Derek Buckley having to pick up a yellow card just to prevent a goal.
*8:15:* DiNuzzo, Baako, Hoxie and senior back Roger Bothe taken out with 28:22 left in the match.
*8:18:* Junior forward Ryan Snyder picks up a yellow, the second tonight. The first scrimmage was heavily carded, so tonight is better. Not great, but better.
*8:19:* Carroll plays the ball to Synder in the box, who heads it to redshirt-freshman Ben Anderson. Anderson’s left footed kick goes wide right, but it looked nice though.
*8:20:* It is so quiet, you can literally hear the crickets at Albert-Daly. It’s church quiet around here.
*8:22:* Great pass from junior midfielder Peter Christmas to Snyder on a run after a Liberty corner. Snyder just misses on what is probably the Tribe’s best chance of the day.
*8:25:* The Tribe takes a shot on goal as I help record subs for game operations. Oh yeah, I’m multi-tasking!
*8:31:* Norris: “Gotta get together.” Yeah, that was the most exciting thing that happened in the last six minutes.
*8:34:* Whitlock heads away a dangerous cross in the box. The defense has not looked solid tonight, no matter which unit has been in the game.
*8:38:* A Snyder header on a corner gives the Tribe a 14-7 advantage on shots. Still none in the back of the net, though.
*8:40:* Looked like a handball in the box by William and Mary. Liberty is not happy on their sideline and the game is starting to get chippy here in the final minutes.
*8:42:* A run by Whitlock down the right side leads to a sliding shot blocked by a sliding stop by Liberty’s goalie. Snyder gets the rebound and fires toward the net, but is blocked by a defender on the back line. Damn. That was probably it for the night.
So a 0-0 tie is the final result. What should we make out of the effort? The offense looked good as the Tribe was far more dangerous than the Flames. Though the offense was still one touch off, that will get fixed as they get more time on the field and as Baako gets back to form.
The defense was a little more worrisome. Liberty was consistently able to make runs in to the box and long crosses found their way to a teammate’s foot across the field with very little pressure. As DiNuzzo comes back that’ll probably get fixed, although if it isn’t the Tribe will be in trouble.