When a majority of its starting lineup is stationed on the bench before the end of the first half, a team either holds a commanding lead or is in for an exhausting night. For William and Mary (4-2), the first was true Wednesday night, and the visiting Richmond Spiders (2-5) were stuck with the daunting, nearly impossible, comeback challenge.
Three decisive goals by the 17th minute, combined with four second-half tallies, spurred the Tribe to its fourth win in five matches in a 7-0 drubbing as seven different players lit up the scoreboard at Albert-Daly Field.
“We know that we have the ability to have that kind of performance on the attacking side, and we are finally getting to the point where we are relaxed and everyone is on the same page,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “It all went right for us early on. We got three goals [that] broke the game open, and at that point it was just a matter of killing it off.”
Senior midfielder Price Thomas initiated the scoring barrage in the 14th minute off of junior forward Alan Koger’s midfield touch. Koger played a nifty through-ball to senior forward Andrew Hoxie who directed a low cross to an unmarked Thomas at the top of the box. Thomas took a quick touch and sent a ground ball past Richmond’s diving keeper for his third goal of the season.
“The loss to Niagara has been a catalyst for a lot of good things,” Thomas said of his team’s adjustments after a 1-0 defeat against the Purple Eagles Sept. 13. “After beating American [Sept. 19], we talked all week that this needs to be a statement game for us. So putting seven on the board, I don’t know if you can say we expected to score that many goals, but a big win was definitely something we looked forward to.”
A rocket into the upper left mesh from senior defender Roger Bothe and a penalty kick from Hoxie put the game out of reach by 16:09 into the first half, allowing Norris to make lineup adjustments. For Bothe, the score was his first of the season, while Hoxie’s goal bettered his personal penalty kick mark to a perfect nine for nine.
To begin the second half, the Tribe returned to its starting lineup with the same result. Four goals, including senior Preston Whitlock’s first career score, gave the College its largest winning margin in four seasons.
“It was important to get the out-of-conference win, but at the same time, I think everyone knows the CAA is what counts,” senior defender Roger Bothe said. “Obviously, we are hoping to go far in the NCAA tournament, so I think this is just another stepping stone.”
Junior Andrew McAdams recorded two saves in net before giving way to sophomore Colin Smolinsky, who made his first appearance for the Tribe in the 61st minute and successfully preserved the College’s third shutout of 2009.
Next for the College is a trip to Towson Saturday to begin CAA play. The Tribe has struggled against the Tigers in recent years, and Norris said the tough opponent would help lower any overconfidence that will come from handily beating the Spiders.
Game Notes: Koger, junior midfielder Ian Stowe and junior forward Jimmy Carroll also scored for the Tribe … The College outshot the Spiders 21-6 … McAdams lowered his GAA to 0.71, ranking fifth in the CAA and continued his streak of not allowing a first-half goal, now at nine straight games … The Tribe holds an all-time 22-3-3 advantage over Richmond … Bothe injured his right elbow in the first half, but did not come out of the game due to injury.