On the heels of back-to-back victories, William and Mary dropped its first match of the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association slate, falling 3-1 on the road against College of Charleston.
The Tribe (3-3-2, 0-1 CAA) had an opportunity to take the lead within the first two minutes of play, but sophomore forward William Eskay’s effort sailed wide. The teams traded scoring chances throughout the opening half hour, but redshirt junior goalkeeper Mac Phillips and Cougars keeper Kevin Shields were up to the task.
Charleston (4-3-1, 1-0 CAA) made the breakthrough in the 31st minute as midfielder T.K. Abderahman’s corner found midfielder Nicholas Jeausseran, whose shot was parried away by Phillips– his third save of the match. However, the ball bounced to Cougars forward Hamilton Carlin, who deftly deposited the ball in the back of the net to put the College behind.
The Cougars doubled their lead less than two minutes later, as Jeausseran’s through ball allowed Charleston forward Nico Rittmeyer to break free from the Tribe back line and beat Phillips one-on-one for his third goal of the campaign. Down two goals to nil before halftime, the Tribe had no choice but to turn up the offensive pressure.
The College’s forwards responded accordingly, relentlessly attacking the Cougars’ goal in the final 13 minutes of the period. The Tribe took only one less shot than its opponents in the first half, but none of its chances produced a goal. The Cougars’ defense blocked shots from freshman forwards Ryder Bell and Antonio Bustamante, while Shields saved senior forward Jackson Eskay’s drive in the 38th minute. The elder Eskay brother picked up a yellow card before the first half ended, as the College headed to the locker room in a deep 2-0 hole.
The start of the second half saw a continuation of the first’s conclusion. The Tribe created numerous opportunities to score, 12 shots in total over the final 45 minutes, but nonetheless the Cougars retained the lead. Shields continued to be a wall in the Charleston goal, making four more saves in the half’s first twenty minutes. He was beaten in the 63rd minute by junior back Ryan Perry’s header off a Bustamante corner, but the crossbar denied him what would have been his first goal of the season.
While the College fervently pushed for a goal, the Cougars finally caught them on the counterattack in the 82nd minute. Carlin found Charleston forward Aden Noel at the top of the 18-yard box and Noel did the rest, creating space from his defenders with a series of jukes and beating Phillips with a hard strike to the left side of the net. Despite shooting only 10 times compared to the Tribe’s 17 attempts on the night, the Cougars held a commanding 3-0 advantage with eight minutes to play.
Jackson Eskay nearly answered back in the 84th, but once again Shields was there to stop the shot, his seventh save of the match. He had another chance a few minutes later but this time the ball sailed wide.
A shutout seemed certain, but the Tribe was able to find a consolation goal in the 89th minute. Junior forward Reilly Maw sent a corner into the box, and as freshman midfielder Marcel Berry jumped to meet the pass he was undercut by a Cougar defender. The referee immediately blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. Bustamante stepped up for the penalty kick and thundered the ball past Shields for his fourth goal of the season to trim the Tribe’s deficit to 3-1 before the final whistle.
The College returns to Martin Family Stadium this Wednesday to take on CAA foe No. 8 Elon. The match is set to kick off at 7 p.m.