Sparked by an early goal from freshman forward John Ciampa, William and Mary (4-1) defeated High Point (3-2-1) 2-1 at Albert-Daly Field Saturday night.
With twenty seconds left in the first half, Ciampa made an unassisted run down the right baseline and evaded two defenders before scoring his first collegiate points on a left-footed kick that soared into the top left corner of the goal.
“It felt great to get out there and get the one goal up, definitely good to lift the team up,” Ciampa said.
Not only was Ciampa’s goal the first of his career, but it helped the College get on the board first versus a dangerous High Point squad.
“Obviously that was a terrific goal, not just in terms of effort, but in the momentum that gave us going into the half,” Head Coach Chris Norris said.
The Tribe rode that momentum into the second half when senior midfielder Jimmy Carroll put the College ahead for good. Carroll went on a run to the left side of the goal box assisted by senior midfielder Ben Anderson. After settling the ball, Carroll made a shot to the opposite post of the goal to put the Tribe up 2-0.
The Panthers began to fight back at the beginning of the second half, when the match became more physical and both teams drew yellow cards. There were 11 fouls called on the Tribe, and eight on the Panthers. One yellow card led to a penalty kick and a goal for the Panthers midway through the second half.
“I think that they tried to test us a little bit more with counter [attack] and their athleticism,” Norris said. “The penalty resulted from them pressuring us and picking up a ball and running at us. That made the game a little tighter obviously at 2-1. I thought that our guys did a good job of not panicking and made the right choices to preserve the 2-1 lead.”
After the Panthers’ goal, though, the Tribe controlled the pace for the rest of the game.
“It definitely woke us up.” Ciampa said. “We were playing slow. It made us realize there was still a game going on.”
The Panthers were outshot 12-to-8 for the game, and the Tribe managed eight shots on goal. Both teams were even on corner kicks, though, with each receiving four.
“I thought we actually played some of our best [offense of the season]. We got a lot more shots on goal; last game we played UNC-Greensboro and it was just a horrible game,” Ciampa said. “It was definitely good to get out here.”
The win puts the Tribe in a good position for the postseason as they get ready for conference play.
“Our goals all along have been to not just win the CAA championship but to put ourselves in position with our at large schedule and winning enough games that we would at least be in contention for an at-large bid. And now it is just a matter of refocusing for each individual game,” Norris said. “To be 4-1 at this point, if you asked us at the beginning of the season if we’d be here at five games, I think we would have accepted this gladly.”