Physical play and senior leadership couldn’t lift William and Mary (4-2, 0-1 CAA) past Old Dominion (4-2, 1-0 CAA) in a 1-0 loss Tuesday night.
The Monarchs took the lead midway through the first half when Jordan LeBlanc, assisted by Chris Harmon, slipped a shot around senior goalkeeper Andrew McAdams. The Monarchs outshot the Tribe five to one, including three shots on goal.
By the end of the first half, the Monarchs still controlled the game. They held an advantage in corner kicks, at three to the Tribe’s zero, and shots on goal, at four to the Tribe’s one.
In the second half, however, the game became much more physical as the Tribe attempted a comeback and outshot Old Dominion 10 to seven. There were also a high number of fouls, with the Tribe being called for nine and the Monarchs for eight. The physicality finally came to a head when both teams drew yellow cards and the Tribe drew a red card on senior Nick Orozco midway through the second period.
“It was very bad timing, certainly,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “We felt like at that stage we were in control and playing well and it was only a matter of time before we would get the equalizer. We still created the same chances when we were down a man, but that was the difference in the game — their ability to capitalize on their opportunities and our inability to finish ours. We certainly don’t want [the red card] to happen, but it wasn’t the deciding factor of the game.”
Even though the Tribe was unable to produce any scoring for the rest of the game, the senior leadership — particularly that of senior midfielder Nat Baako, senior midfielder Jimmy Carroll and McAdams — drove both the team’s offense and its defense on a rough night.
“Jimmy Carroll was arguably our best player on the night. He created a lot of opportunities to score, and created a lot of chances. His shot just went left, and that was probably our best chance to score. We’ve got a huge senior class and we expect those guys to provide leadership,” Norris said. “Some of our defenders who don’t always show up in the stats played well. It’s going to be a theme for us all year; the senior leadership is going to have to come up with the big performances in the tough games.”
Although it was the team’s second loss in the past three games after starting the season undefeated, the players believe that it can only help them to improve.
“We hope that it will focus us a little bit more. We still have a lot of confidence and belief in this group. We have some issues in terms of our consistency and performances,” Norris said. “We hope that letting a game get away from us like it did with our poor first-half performance will act as a motivating factor.”
CAA play will continue with the Tribe’s next game tomorrow against Drexel at Albert-Daly Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.