William and Mary didn’t dominate against a weak Towson team Saturday afternoon, but the team did enough to score a goal in the second half, eking out a 1-0 victory. And as long as senior goalkeeper Colin Smolinsky and the Tribe defense keep blanking their opponents, that’s all they’ll need.
“It’s another good win for us,” head coach Chris Norris said. “We were fortunate to get a goal in the second half and then hang on.”
Smolinsky recorded his fourth straight shutout in the fourth-straight win for the Tribe (6-3, 3-0 CAA). He has now made 17 saves in a row over the course of the past four matches. The defense has held those four opponents to 14 shots on goal, compared with 23 for the Tribe offense.
“We’ve got good personnel back there,” Norris said. “We’re at a point now where we’re not making the kind of mistakes we were making early in the season. We were gifting teams easy chances and we’ve cut that out.”
In addition to the clean sheet, the Tribe scored its sixth goal in four games in the 65th minute. Sophomore defender Will Smith sent a pass into the box, and freshman forward Patrick O’Brien got the best of a Towson defender to head the ball past the keeper and give the Tribe the only goal they would need. The goal was the first of O’Brien’s career.
“The team has recognized Patrick’s ability to hold the ball up front, and also his ability to win aerial battles,” Norris said. “He read the flight of the ball very well, held his defender off and got his head to it.”
The teams battled evenly in the first half, but the College took the offensive momentum coming out to start the second half. After the goal, the Tribe came out and continued the pressure — the Tribe would wind up with 10 shots in the second half to the Tigers’ five after being outshot in the first half — but couldn’t add a second goal. Towson controlled the ball at the end of the second half as they tried to equalize, but were unable to put one past Smolinsky.
“Defending is more about concentration and effort more than anything else,” Norris said. “It really means a lot to them to set that foundation to succeed.”
The Tribe finishes up its road trip in Atlanta tomorrow night against Georgia State before returning to Williamsburg Saturday to face George Mason.