Held out of the starting lineup for only the second match of his career, junior Nick Orozco was an improbable hero Wednesday night. However, after a late substitution into the midfield against the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (8-2-3, 4-0-2 CAA), Orozco registered a dramatic 83rd-minute equalizer. Following a scoreless overtime, William and Mary (9-4-1, 4-2-1 CAA) finished the game knotted at 1-1 with the top defensive team in the CAA.
“To go into Wilmington and get a draw against them late, normally we would be pretty happy with that as a result,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “However, I felt like we played very well at times on the night and showed that … we were the better team. And so to not get a win having had a lot of advantage in terms of possession and chances, particularly in the second half, was a little disappointing.”
Orozco’s strike materialized off a cross from junior forward Ryan Snyder to the foot of redshirt freshman midfielder Caleb Thomas. As Thomas faced away from the Seahawk net, he played a quick pass to Orozco on the right side who wrapped the ball around two defenders and skimmed a 20-yard goal off the far post.
Orozco had been removed from the starting lineup Oct. 17 against Delaware and was replaced by junior defender Derek Buckley in an attempt to reorganize an inconsistent backline.
“It felt good to get a goal,” Orozco said. “It’s been frustrating. We’ve had a few blunders defensively this year, which have been a result of us not coming out and going after the team. Derek Buckley is very athletic, and with him in the lineup we hope to overcome that.”
Indy Smith scored on UNCW’s first shot of the night in the 19th minute. Off a throw-in, the ball eluded three Tribe defenders before Smith converted on a quick strike to the near post — an attempt Norris termed a “hopeful stab.”
“We have given up some soft goals recently,” Norris said. “For us to be where we want to be at the end of the year, it is something we will have to turn around.”
With the Seahawks utilizing only one forward and dropping everyone else back, it was difficult for the College to sustain deep pressure for much of the game. A halftime adjustment by Norris that split the central midfielders allowed greater fluidity between the backline and the forwards and facilitated 13 second half shots.
“[UNCW] defended deep and made it difficult for us,” Norris said. “For a while it looked like it would be one of those nights where we did a lot of good things, and were just not able to overcome the soft goal we conceded.”
The Tribe returns to the pitch Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Albert-Daly Field when they host Hofstra during Homecoming weekend.
GAME NOTES: The Tribe outshot the Seahawks 22-12 and held a 13-6 advantage in corner kicks … Junior goal keeper Andrew McAdams recorded four saves … Senior forward Andrew Hoxie played 90 minutes for the first time since injuring his groin against George Mason earlier in the year. He knotched five shots … The tie moves the College into sole possession of fourth place in the CAA.