When William and Mary surrendered the equalizer in the 82nd minute Wednesday night, it appeared the Tribe would let a sure victory slip away. But four minutes after allowing a tying goal that seemingly destined the match for overtime, senior forward Andrew Hoxie came to the rescue. Hoxie shrugged off one defender before being tackled by another, drawing a penalty shot. Hoxie converted the attempt, remaining a perfect 10-for-10 in his career, to give the College (6-2, 1-0 CAA) its fourth-straight victory in a 2-1 final over visiting Loyola (Md.) (3-5-1).
On the score sheet, the College dominated the match. The Tribe out-shot the Greyhounds 34-6, including a 14-3 margin in shots on net.
“I didn’t expect the physical advantage to be that big,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “And I think from an attacking standpoint, a possession standpoint, that we played exceptionally well. We did exactly what we wanted to. We moved the ball well, we were mobile, creative … we just couldn’t get the second goal.”
Loyola consistently dropped a midfielder back to create a compact five-man backline. The College responded by spreading its outside midfielders, sophomore Nick Abrigo and senior Price Thomas, exceptionally wide and allowing its outside backs to use the channels to make runs.
The scheme worked in the 28th minute. Abrigo collected a loose ball wide, arched a cross into the box, and watched Hoxie volley the ball into the mesh for his fifth goal of the season.
Norris said the College knew Loyola’s defensive tendencies entering the match and made the appropriate adjustments to spread the field.
Loyola remained scoreless with the College in control of the majority of the possession. But the Greyhounds broke the shutout in the 82nd minute, after junior midfielder Ian Stowe was given a yellow card, despite receiving the worst end of a collision that resulted in a stiff elbow to Stowe’s face. Loyola’s Glenn Leitch managed a diving header off the ensuing free kick to beat Tribe junior keeper Andrew McAdams.
“The longer the game goes 1-0, the more they think they have a chance, and one lucky break like [their goal], and they are back in the game,” McAdams said. “I had a feeling they were going to get one just because their goalie was playing well and we couldn’t get anything by him. It was a great ball in, and one of our guys didn’t mark him, and it was a nice finish.”
The goal rejuvenated a frustrated Loyola squad and erased the College’s momentum.
Yet just at it seemed the match had slipped away from the Tribe, sophomore midfielder Stephen Laws put in a strong effort just outside the box. Laws had only checked into the game six minutes earlier, and his fresh legs showed. After maneuvering around multiple defenders, the ball found its way to Hoxie, who was tackled in the box seconds later. He then converted the game-winning penalty kick.
“We had so much time and so much space, and we were able to get a lot of crosses in, but we just could not finish until the end there,” Hoxie said. “We had probably 80 percent of the possession, and their keeper made a few brilliant saves. But we got what we needed and got a ‘PK’ and finished the game off.”
Loyola took four corner kicks in the waning moments of the game. McAdams made his best save of the night in the 88th minute, reaching up and deflecting a bullet over the crossbar to preserve the win.
GAME NOTES: The Tribe set season highs in shots (34), shots on net (14) and corner kicks (11) Wednesday night… Andrew Hoxie leads the CAA in goals (6) and assists (6) … Andrew McAdams has not allowed a first half goal in his last ten contests, dating back to the 2008 season … The Tribe has won five straight home matches (last loss Oct. 22, 2008) … The College leads the CAA in goals per game (2.50), assists per game (2.62) and shots (140) … George Mason, the College’s next opponent (Saturday 7 p.m. at Albert-Daly Field), beat no. 3 Maryland 2-1 Tuesday night.