Men’s soccer: After historic run, College falls in conference debut

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September 30, 2013

11:32 PM

Enjoying one of the most prolific winning streaks in program history, William and Mary (4-3-1, CAA 0-1) seemed long overdue for a setback. After defeating three straight top-25 opponents, including two No. 1 teams in a week, the College allowed two unanswered goals in a 2-1 loss to unranked Drexel Saturday.

After enjoying a spectacular three-game run, the College looked to transfer its momentum to the Colonial Athletic Conference, opening the conference slate at Drexel.

The Tribe scored first when junior midfielder Chris Albiston played a high cross into the box in the 17th minute. Junior forward Josh West received the ball and whipped it on frame, scoring from almost 10 yards out. The goal was West’s third of the year and was good for a share of the team lead. Albiston’s assist marked his team-leading fifth.

The Tribe’s advantage disappeared almost immediately. Ninety seconds later, Dragon midfielder Nathan Page crossed a low ball into the Tribe’s box, finding Dragon defender Marty Brennan. Brennan slipped around a Tribe defender to score on an out-of-position redshirt freshman keeper Mac Phillips. The goal tied the match at one apiece.

It didn’t take long for Drexel to turn the match on its head, grabbing a one-goal lead over the College. In the 30th minute, Dragon midfielder Ken Tribbet fired a massive attempt from 25 yards out. As the ball sailed toward the goal it was aided by a Tribe deflection and found the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.

The Dragons’ ability to generate more pressure than the College was evident through the first half with their 10-7 advantage in shots. Each team had two corners.

In the second half, the Tribe sought desperately to level the score and take back the momentum. In the 47th minute, Albiston had another chance to score, but was stopped by Dragon goalkeeper Tyler Afferbach.

In response to the challenge from the Tribe, the Dragons generated three opportunities within a short four-minute span.

Three shots — one each by the Dragons’ midfielders Michel Pataia and Tribett, and forward Mark Donohue — either found Phillips’ gloves or sailed harmlessly wide or high.

After this flurry of activity, the College’s chances to equalize came less and less frequently. The Tribe’s last solid chance came in the 88th minute when sophomore forward Jackson Eskay’s attempt was fired too high and floated over Drexel’s crossbar.

Although the College was outshot 16-14, it did grab a 6-4 advantage in shots on goal. The teams were equal on corners with five apiece, while the Dragons’ goalkeeper recorded five saves to Phillips’ two saves.

The Tribe returns home to Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field on Saturday, Oct. 5 after a season-long five game road-trip. Head coach Chris Norris and company will face CAA opponent College of Charleston. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.

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Jonathan Iyob
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