When Head Coach Chris Norris reviewed the 2009 schedule and saw no home matches until the sixth opponent of the season, he knew a tough task lay in wait for his squad. When the College takes the pitch Wednesday at Albert-Daly Field for the first time this season, it will boast a 3-2 record after downing American 2-0 Saturday in Washington, D.C., in the last of its five-game away swing.
“I think it was valuable for us,” Norris said of the team’s opening schedule. “We knew we would have an experienced team … so the risk of playing on the road was lessened by that. Eventually you have to be able to go on the road if you want to succeed.”
The Tribe showcased strong play in the attacking third to turn in its most consistent effort of the year. Senior forward Andrew Hoxie and junior forward Alan Koger netted goals against the Eagles, and junior goalkeeper Andrew McAdams picked up his second shutout of the year.
Hoxie’s second goal of the year came off a set piece at the top of the box in the 26th minute. The senior wrapped the ball around American’s wall to the near post, similar to a shot Niagra midfielder Levi Tesch sliced to beat the Tribe a week earlier.
Despite being held scoreless over the first four matches, Koger resurrected his ability to out-jump charging keepers in the 52nd minute against American. He headed junior defender Jeremy Harris’s serve over the Eagles’s out-of-position goalkeeper Matt Makowski for his first goal of the year, conjuring images of last season’s NCAA tournament game against Winthrop.
To Norris, the goals were reassuring, but his team’s confidence in holding a relaxed rhythm showed progress since the beginning of the season.
“The big thing is trying to be more efficient when we get into the attacking half of the field,” Norris said. “Particularly with combination play and creating goal scoring opportunities. We have very talented and experienced players in those positions, but through the first four games we weren’t quite firing on all cylinders … I thought against American we showed much more rhythm and flow, in spurts. It wasn’t consistent throughout the game, but we showed the kind of attacking moves we were capable of.”
The Eagles took serious risks sending players forward to try to score against the Tribe late; but a combination of McAdams’s saves and a late block by sophomore midfielder Nick Abrigo kept American off the board, despite outshooting the College 18-10
McAdams also improved his streak of not allowing a first half goal, which now stands at eight games dating back to last season’s CAA Tournament.
The College will resume it’s season Wednesday at 7 p.m. when it takes on the Richmond Spiders at Albert-Daly field.