An Evening of Dance

Men’s soccer: Tribe falls at No. 16 Virginia in road finale

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October 24, 2016

6:47 PM

After shutting out Michigan 4-0 over homecoming weekend, William and Mary was shut out itself Tuesday night, falling to No. 16 Virginia 3-0 in the Tribe’s final road match of the 2016 regular season.

Playing in Charlottesville, Va. for the first time since 2003, the College (7-6-2, 1-3-2 CAA) was on the back foot for much of the early stages, falling behind 2-0 to the Cavaliers (8-2-4, 2-2-2 ACC) within the game’s first 30 minutes. The two goals came in quick succession after sophomore midfielder Marcel Berry was issued a red card in the 26th minute, forcing the Tribe to play a man down the rest of the match. Berry received the card, which also includes a one-game suspension, for a harsh challenge on Virginia forward Edward Opoku on the edge of the College penalty box.

“You’re at the mercy sometimes of referee decisions,” head coach Chris Norris said to Tribe Athletics concerning Berry’s sending off. “I didn’t think it was a good one, but I’m not the referee.”

After Berry was forced to leave the field, Opoku scored seconds later off the ensuing free kick to put the Cavaliers in front, a lead they would never relinquish. Virginia then quickly doubled its lead three minutes later, Cavalier midfielder Jean Christophe-Koffi beating junior goalkeeper Phil Breno with a powerful shot from 30 yards out.

“You’re at the mercy sometimes of referee decisions,” head coach Chris Norris said to Tribe Athletics concerning Berry’s sending off. “I didn’t think it was a good one, but I’m not the referee.”

Ahead by two goals, Virginia felt comfortable allowing the Tribe more freedom of possession, which the College soon turned into scoring opportunities despite the one-man disadvantage. The Tribe actually finished the game with more shots, firing 17 against the Cavaliers’ 11 attempts. However, struggles with accuracy — the Tribe put only five of their shots on target —  as well as strong goalkeeping from Virginia. net-minder Jeff Caldwell, the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks, kept the Tribe off the score sheet.

“We’ve been talking a lot about playing simply and sharing the ball, and … I thought we did a really good job with that,” Norris told Tribe Athletics. “If we can continue to do that, and stay positive, we’re going to have some really good performances in our final three games.”

The College pushed especially hard for a goal in the second half, 13 of its 17 shots coming in the final 45 minutes. Over one six-minute span, the Tribe had five attempts at goal, but none of them crossed the goal line. Sophomore forwards Antonio Bustamante and Ryder Bell led the College attack, shooting five times apiece, Bell putting three of his attempts on goal along with picking up a yellow card in the 67th minute.

“We’ve been talking a lot about playing simply and sharing the ball, and … I thought we did a really good job with that,” Norris told Tribe Athletics. “If we can continue to do that, and stay positive, we’re going to have some really good performances in our final three games.”

The Cavaliers polished off their victory with a third goal in the game’s dying stages. With the Tribe increasingly pushing numbers forward, Virginia broke away on a counter-attack in the 84th minute, which Cavalier forward Wesley Wade touched with a cool finish after receiving a cross in the penalty box. Virginia saw out the final minutes without conceding and the Tribe came back to Williamsburg with a 3-0 loss, completing the away portion of its schedule with a 2-4-1 record.

The College now begins a three-game homestand to close the regular season and make a final run for the conference playoffs. The Tribe would go on to win the first of the three matches Saturday night against Charleston with the final two matches to come this week.

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About Author

  • Josh Luckenbaugh

Flat Hat Sports Editor Josh Luckenbaugh '18 is a sophomore from Leesburg, VA, majoring in English.