It is said that good things come in small packages, but not this time.
All 6’5” of redshirt freshman midfielder Caleb Thomas powered William and Mary (12-4-1, 7-2-1 CAA) to a 2-1 double overtime victory over Northeastern (8-7, 7-2 CAA) Saturday night at Albert-Daly Field. Thomas headed in senior midfielder Price Thomas’s corner kick at the near post in the 107th minute to seal the win and secure a spot in the four-team CAA Tournament.
“I had been looking for Price’s serve the whole night,” Caleb Thomas said. “He served it in at the perfect height for me because I could rise up and connect with it. As soon as I hit it I knew it was goal-bound, and just seeing it hit the net was just a great relief. It was a great team effort.”
The Tribe is now 6-1-1 in its last eight games and sits in second place in the conference with one match remaining in the regular season.
The night started out fortuitously for the College. In the 35th minute, senior forward Andrew Hoxie gave the Tribe a 1-0 lead after capitalizing on a miscommunication between the Huskies’s goalkeeper Scott Partridge and a defender. As the Northeastern defender peeled off the ball near the top of the box, Partridge misplayed it and Hoxie squeezed in between the two to tap the loose ball just inside the far post for his CAA-leading ninth goal of the year.
To start the second half, the Huskies scored on a bounce of their own. Don Anding raced in one-on-one with Tribe keeper Andrew McAdams, avoiding two Tribe defenders after corralling a long service. Anding did not miss his chance at goal, knotting the game in the 50th minute at 1-1.
“To have the advantage coming into the second half, and then to give them a goal five minutes in, was obviously something we wanted to make sure we didn’t do,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “But, to our credit, we didn’t allow it to affect us. We didn’t allow them to seize the momentum; we just kind of kept playing and trying to do our thing and get the second goal.”
Junior midfielder Nick Orozco nearly gave the College a late lead after his 87th-minute shot skimmed just over the crossbar; however, the College emerged as the stronger team late in the match, holding the Huskies to three shots in the final 35 minutes. The Tribe held a 15-8 advantage in shots on the night and a 17-14 edge in fouls in a physical game.
“There were times they were better than us and there were times we were better than they were,” Norris said. “In the end we had a little bit of an advantage in terms of possession and chances, but they are very dangerous. In some ways it was better for us to win it in overtime and not allow them any opportunity to allow [for] a comeback.”
The Tribe wraps up the regular season Friday at Drexel.
The Dragons are in last place in the CAA with a 1-8-1 mark and have lost five consecutive matches. If the College beats the Dragons, the Tribe can finish no lower than second in the conference standings. UNCW has clinched the regular season title.