Men’s soccer: Tribe opens season with 2-0 victory

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Ryder Bell. COURTESY IMAGE / TRIBE ATHLETICS

Not even a minute into William and Mary’s Friday night season-opening match against Saint Joseph’s, Tribe senior forward Ryder Bell made a run down the left side of the box and swung a low cross right to the waiting foot of redshirt senior forward Graham Guidry. Guidry made no mistake, depositing the layup right into the back of the net.

That play encapsulated the night for the Tribe (1-0), who dominated play in a 2-0 victory over the Hawks (0-1).

“Obviously, you can’t ask for a better start,” head coach Chris Norris ’94 said. “We had been training really well and putting together some moments like that where we’re playing for just a really short period of time. The first group, the first eleven was scoring some goals like that, so to see it happen was great. It obviously takes some of the pressure off.”

After the Guidry goal, the College barely gave up possession of the ball. The continuous pressure eventually paid off in the 12th minute, as junior midfielder Julian Ngoh made an outside-in move to get around the defender before putting the shot near-post.

Saint Joseph’s would not register a shot until the 23rd minute, by which time the Hawks were already down by a pair of goals. They would produce a couple of chances in the back end of the first half, but freshman goalkeeper Connor Andrews made two saves in the period to keep the Hawks off the scoreboard.

“I thought [Andrews] did well with his decision-making,” Norris said. “He was making some early calls, whether it was keeper or away.”

The Tribe effectively limited Saint Joseph’s chances in the second half until the last three minutes, when the Hawks seriously threatened for the first time all night. Andrews made two saves in 30 seconds to secure the clean sheet and the win in his first collegiate match.

“It’s obviously a very special moment to get the start, and to obviously get the clean sheet,” Andrews said. “To get the result we did in my first game, it feels great, and I’m feeling pretty confident about the season.”

It’s a quick turnaround for the College, which travelled to Philadelphia, Pa. Monday to take on Villanova. But the Tribe feels confident after a convincing win to open the season.

“I think that we’re going to prepare ourselves to do the best we can,” Andrews said. “It’s going to be a long season and we’ve got a lot of tough teams, but I think we’re up to the challenge.”