William and Mary continued its late-season winning streak Wednesday night as the College shut out Virginia Commonwealth 2-0 in Richmond, Va. The victory marks the third consecutive win and the second consecutive shutout for the Tribe.
“I was very pleased with the performance,” head coach Chris Norris told Tribe Athletics. “I think we’re playing our most complete soccer at the moment, and hopefully we can continue.”
The College (7-7-2, 2-5 CAA) managed to prevent the Rams (4-9-2, 2-2-3 A10) from scoring for the full 90 minutes, as the Tribe was able to put the ball in the back of the net once in each half.
I was very pleased with the performance,” head coach Chris Norris told Tribe Athletics. “I think we’re playing our most complete soccer at the moment, and hopefully we can continue.”
After VCU began the scoring attempts with a shot in the third minute saved by redshirt junior goalkeeper Mac Phillips, the Tribe began its assault on the Rams’ back line. Senior forward Jackson Eskay put the first shot on the board in the seventh minute, only to be saved by Rams keeper Garrett Cyprus. After a shot in the eighth minute by freshman forward Ryder Bell was blocked, sophomore forward William Eskay found an opening in the defense and fired in the first tally of the match at 11:24, assisted by Jackson Eskay and redshirt sophomore back Alfonso Speed, Jr. The goal, William Eskay’s sixth of the season, would be the only scoring play of the first half. Despite the score, the game was even on the field, both teams matching one another in shots with seven each after the first 45 minutes. Phillips would prove to be the key factor in the win, notching three saves to Cyprus’s one.
Both teams came out of the locker room with a renewed energy, the Tribe up a goal and wanting to preserve the win, while the Rams looked to pull off a comeback. VCU shot first, soon after the starting whistle, but the College back line was there to block the attempt. Both squads exchanged close shots, but none went in until Bell’s attempt in the 77th minute for his seventh score of his rookie season. The goal was assisted by freshman midfielder Marcel Berry and redshirt freshman back Geoffrey Young. With that nail in the coffin, VCU was unable to achieve a win and the Tribe added another non-conference victory to its season. Norris commented after the match on the College’s keys to victory.
“We’ve been better in terms of concentration defensively and not making the little mistakes that were costing us in the middle of the season, and we’ve been scoring goals consistently,” Norris told Tribe Athletics. “That’s a pretty good formula for winning.”
Overall, William and Mary actually was outshot by the Rams on total shots (14-13) and shots on frame (5-4), but the Tribe made the shots that mattered for the two goals. Phillips ended the match with five saves, while Cyprus made just a pair of saves.
We’ve been better in terms of concentration defensively and not making the little mistakes that were costing us in the middle of the season, and we’ve been scoring goals consistently,” Norris told Tribe Athletics. “That’s a pretty good formula for winning.”
With this win, the College holds a 7-7-2 overall record with a lone game remaining in the regular season. The finale — a home match at Martin Family Stadium against Delaware Saturday at 7 p.m. — will determine whether this season will hold a record above or below .500. The Tribe could still make the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Championships with a win over the Blue Hens depending on the results from other matches around the conference this weekend.
Editor’s note: William and Mary ultimately fell to Delaware 3-1 Saturday night, ending the season with a loss at home.