Men’s soccer: Tribe enters tournament with clutch win

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November 8, 2011

12:40 AM

William and Mary fought back after twice giving up a lead, and eventually scored an overtime goal Saturday night in Williamsburg for a 3-2 victory over Northeastern. The game was the last one of the College’s regular season, and is the second straight win for the Tribe.

“It was an exciting game that was well-played by both teams,” head coach Chris Norris said. “I’m very pleased, obviously. We dug deep and played hard, came up with some good goals.”

The two teams traded shots back and forth in a high-paced contest, a stark contrast from the Tribe’s more defensive games earlier in the year. Like the College’s previous game, Norris put another player forward, triggering more offense in both ends of the field. Neither team had a dangerous chance until the 43rd minute, when sophomore defenseman Roshan Patel received a throw-in, found space and fired a hard shot past Huskies goalkeeper Oliver Blum to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.

Though the College was able to go into halftime with a lead, the Huskies were able to answer back quickly to start the second half. In the 47th minute, forward Mike Kennedy took a cross deep inside the box and knocked it past senior goalkeeper Colin Smolinsky to tie up the game.

“It was a little bit fluky. We allowed the cross, which was something that we were trying to make sure we didn’t do,” Norris said.

The Tribe took back the momentum in the 67th minute, when Blum couldn’t contain a shot by sophomore midfielder Ben Coffey. The shot rebounded and the first one there was freshman forward Josh West, who put the ball away to give the Tribe the lead back.

But the Huskies came back and equalized again, this time on a play so fast the benches and many in the stands missed it. Just 27 seconds after the Tribe scored, Huskies forward Don Anding received a good pass in the Tribe’s half on the right side, and smashed one past Smolinsky to equalize the game.

“It’s a psychologically difficult to give the lead away multiple times,” Norris said. “We managed to do it and still stay mentally strong enough to get the winner when we needed it.”

The rest of the second half featured chances and physicality, but neither team had a good opportunity to break the game open in regulation. It was the Tribe who got the chance they needed in the 97th minute, when senior midfielder Nicolas Abrigo sent a pass in from the left side to freshman midfielder Chris Albiston, who controlled the ball and hit it past Blum to give the Tribe the win.

“I was trying to take it off my chest, but I think it hit me in the face,” Albiston said. “It just kind of fell in front of me, and I saw the keeper coming out, and I was just trying to put it behind him any way I could.”

On the game, Athe College outshot Northeastern 17 to 13, and had nine shots on goal as compared to the Huskies’ two (both of which they scored on). It was the second straight game in which the Tribe won a 3-2 game in overtime at home. The Tribe have now scored six goals in the past two games, compared to 12 in the team’s previous 16 games. The win vaulted the Tribe past the Huskies and two other teams to garner third place in the CAA.

“We’re really happy with [the third seed],” Norris said. “If you asked me going into the season with this young a group if I’d be happy to finish in third, I would’ve said absolutely.”

The College will open CAA Tournament play against sixth-ranked Georgia State Thursday in Harrisonburg.

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