Coming off a string of tough losses, William and Mary fell again Wednesday, this time in a 2-1 decision to Georgia State, further solidifying the squad’s recent struggles.
In this battle of Colonial Athletic Conference cellar-dwellers, the Tribe needed to win in order to stay competitive for the last spot in the conference tournament. But two goals against proved too much for the College’s long dormant offense.
Georgia State found the back of the net in the 38th and 82th minutes off uncharacteristic breakdowns in the College’s back line. In the only real positive takeaway from the game, sophomore defender Will Smith scored his first collegiate goal in the 60th minute.
The game got off to a promising start as the Tribe dominated possession through the first part of the opening half with quick, smart, and precise passing. But the team started to look more and more sluggish as the game progressed leading to Georgia State’s breakthrough goal 38 minutes in which tipped the scales to the side of the opponent. The back line stayed too rigid in the face of a slashing counter-attack from Georgia State which cut through the defense and found Peter Kurowski, right outside goal who stamped the ball home.
“It was a tough situation because they made a nice play breaking out around half field and got down around the sideline and we were trying to sprint back,” Smith said. “The kid played a good ball and went right by me and the guy just managed to get a foot on it. It’s was a pretty good goal.”
The Tribe offense produced precious few chances through the first 45, even, going the entire half without a corner kick. Head coach Chris Norris tinkered with his rotation repeatedly, sending in seven substitution in order to jumpstart his team in the first half.
The Tribe got on the scoreboard in the 60th minute in typical College fashion with a set-piece. Setting up from far outside the box on a free kick, junior defender Roshan Patel blasted the ball into the box where Will Smith outmaneuvered his defenders and slammed it into the net. The goal represented the first Tribe score in four games.
“That’s been the way we’ve scored goals all season basically so every time we get one, we see it as a great opportunity,” Smith said. “Also Roshan played a good ball and it fell right to me and I just knocked it in.”
Building off the momentum of the set-piece goal, the Tribe sustained a period of effective attacking that resulted in numerous corner kicks and other chances. However, all the positive energy was lost in the 82nd minute with Georgia State’s second goal which came off a header on a poorly defended corner kick.
“It’s been a story all year for us on set-pieces, obviously we scored a goal on a set-piece today, but we conceded one as well and that’s kind of been the story for us,” Norris said. “It’s obviously disappointing to concede from a set piece like that but again right now we are obviously struggling for confidence. We’re not making the right plays largely because we’re just not confident enough right now.”
The College could not climb out of the deficit and ended the game with a whimper while Georgia State celebrated its first conference victory, The Tribe is still looking for its own conference victory and will renew that quest Saturday at George Mason.
“There are five games left and if we win those five games, then we can make the tournament and anything can happen from there,” Smith said.