Men’s soccer: College breaks losing streak with 3-2 win over Hofstra

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October 31, 2011

10:53 PM

William and Mary snapped its three-game losing streak with an overtime goal Saturday, securing a 3-2 win over Hofstra at Martin Family Stadium.

“Real happy with the performance,” head coach Chris Norris said. “Real happy with the way the guys stayed in and battled and came up with some big plays.”

The College struck first in the 22nd minute off a cross from freshman midfielder Chris Albiston into the box from the left side. The ball skipped in front of Pride goalkeeper Roberto Pellegrini and deflected off a defender, bouncing around just feet from the goal. Senior midfielder Nicolas Abrigo got there first to poke it and give the Tribe the lead.

“Chris played a great ball in, low and hard. The goalie and defender misjudged it a little bit, and it skipped off one of them and just landed right there,” Abrigo said. “I just had to make sure I was in the right place at the right time and tap it in.”

But the Pride would equalize almost immediately. In the 24th minute, a foul was called on the Tribe just inside the box, and Hofstra was awarded a penalty kick. Midfielder Chris Griebsch buried it low and to the left, past senior goalkeeper Colin Smolinsky to tie the game.

The Tribe took control of the action over the rest of the first half and early in the second half. Play was tenuous and physical, and in the 68th minute, Hofstra defenseman Shaun Foster earned his second yellow card, getting him ejected and leaving the Tribe one man up.

“Once we were up a man, it helps,” Abrigo said. “You’re not running as much, and you’re able to control the flow a little more.”

The Tribe looked to be in excellent position to score a deciding goal, but it was the Pride who would strike next. In the 78th minute, defenseman Tommi Kjartansson connected with an incoming corner kick, elevated above the Tribe defenders, and got his head to the ball to score a shorthanded goal for Hofstra.

“Just a little of misjudging the ball for a couple guys in our box,” Abrigo said.

The Tribe began pushing for an equalizer, and the team’s aggression and possession paid off in the 85th minute. Sophomore midfielder Chris Perez found himself with space and fired a high, hard shot that got past Pellegrini, tied the game, and swung the momentum back to the Tribe.

“As time is ticking away, we’re obviously very concerned. The idea of what happens if we lose starts to creep into your mind a little bit,” Norris said. “Fortunately, Chris Perez came up with a huge goal. At that point, I just thought there was no way we were going to lose.”

The game went into overtime, and in the 97th minute, the Tribe found the golden goal. Abrigo got the ball on the right side and dribbled into the box. Pellegrini was caught in no-man’s-land, and Abrigo chipped the ball over his head and into the back of the net for the winner.

“The goalie was a couple steps outside of his line. He’s a big guy, and I don’t think if I tried anything else I would’ve scored on him,” Abrigo said. “Once I hit the shot, I was just watching it, and making sure it sunk right under the bar, and then after that, it’s just a big feeling of relief.”

The College outshot the Pride 16 to eight and won the shots-on-goal battle six to three. The College also had six corner kicks compared to Hofstra’s one. Abrigo’s two goals gave him more on the season with eight than the rest of the team combined. The win left the Tribe in fifth place in the CAA, which would give the team a spot in the conference tournament if the season were to end today.

The Tribe finishes up its regular season Saturday night against Northeastern.

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