William and Mary 0, UMBC 0 (W&M wins on PKs 4-3)
Senior goalkeeper Andrew McAdams was the focus of nearly all of the taunts from the opposing student section during the match between William and Mary (15-3-3, 8-1-3 CAA) and the University of Maryland – Baltimore County (12-4-3, 5-1-3 America East) in the NCAA’s round of 32, but he didn’t act as though he heard any of them.
Instead, he proved to the Retrievers’ fans that they taunted the wrong keeper by making two critical saves that allowed the College to put away UMBC by a 4-3 on penatlty kicks after ending two regulation periods in a 0-0 tie. With the win, the College will advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2002.
The game remained scoreless through both halves of regulation and two periods of overtime — so it officially counts as a tie for the team’s record — before going to penalty kicks. Both teams made their first kick, but McAdams made what would turn to be the game-winning save on the Retrievers’ second kick.
UMBA forward Levi Houapeu, who was the America East Striker of the Year and drove much of UMBC’s offense during the match, tried to send the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, but McAdams dove and made one of the most important saves of his career.
“I knew if I saved it, we won. Actually, I went the wrong way, but the kid screwed up a bit and so that was good,” McAdams said. “I’m very confident in shootouts and I feel like I can get the better of a lot of goalies. I can’t score any goals; I can’t affect the team in that way. That’s my goal-scoring right there.”
Thanks to that play, the Tribe only needed four penalty kicks to put the Retrievers down 4-3. Scorers for the Tribe were junior Nicolas Abrigo, redshirt sophomore Ben Anderson, freshman back Roshan Patel, and senior back Michael DiNuzzo.
After DiNuzzo’s kick, the Retrievers’ midfielder John Waraksa lined up to take a fifth kick in an attempt to even the score, but his attempt sailed high over the crossbar, giving DiNuzzo the winning kick.
“I just waited for the keeper to jump one way, and I waited for him to go, and I knew I had to kick it hard,” DiNuzzo said. “No matter what, even if you feel like you hit it right, until the ball hits the back of the net your heart is just pounding. I just wanted to get the ball in the net and get out of there.”
DiNuzzo also assisted on the Tribe’s best chance for a goal during the first half of regulation, when he made a pass to senior midfielder Nat Baako, who sent the ball toward the top of the net only to have the Retrievers’ goalkeeper make the save by hitting the ball backwards and up over the net.
During the first half, Baako’s shot was the best chance for a Tribe goal, and the College outshot UMBC by getting four shots on goal to the Retrievers’ none. In the second half, the Tribe continued to control possession, outshooting the Retrievers 6-4, and adding two shots on goal to the other team’s one.
UMBC’s only shot on goal during regulation came when they were awarded a penalty kick after a foul on the Tribe. Houapeu took the shot, and he tried to send it to the same corner of the goal where he would soon send his penalty kick during the shootout.
McAdams dove to make his first critical save of the night, and the one that turned the match’s momentum in the Tribe’s favor.
“He’s done that throughout his career here; he’s come up with some big penalty saves,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “As a team, we train against him all the time. We see him save a lot of penalties in training, but it makes our guys a lot better when they have to step up and take penalty kicks themselves. It was clearly the defining play of the game for us.”
After the save, the Tribe controlled the tempo through the rest of regulation and the first overtime, but neither team had many good offensive looks. Baako again had the team’s best chance to get a game winner at the end of the second overtime, but the Retrievers’ goalkeeper scooped his shot on goal up and sent the ball back into the field.
The Tribe will head back into a deeper field of play when they travel to Dallas, Texas to continue play in the Sweet Sixteen on November 28. The team will face the Southern Methodist, who received a No. 5 seed in the tournament and defeated Creighton to reach the third round of the tournament for only the second time in school history.
“These guys have been incredible in terms of their focus and their ability to go out and put together good performance after good performance,” Norris said. “We wanted to make sure that when the year was all over we could say we didn’t leave anything on the table, and the kids not only thought that way but put in the work to back it up.”