Men’s soccer: Tribe earns win in last regular season game over Charleston, 4-1

0
13
Even while short-handed, William and Mary demolished Charleston, 4-1. COURTESY PHOTO / TRIBE ATHLETICS

William and Mary cruised past Colonial Athletic Association foe Charleston 4-1 Tuesday at Martin Family Stadium. The Tribe (5-9-2, 3-3-2 CAA) looked to build momentum heading into the postseason while showing caution, benching starting senior forwards Ryder Bell and Antonio Bustamante, both of whom have been banged up. Meanwhile, the Cougars (5-10-2, 1-6-1 CAA) were attempting to end their season on a positive note, out of playoff contention regardless of Tuesday’s results.

Freshman midfielder John Eberle almost opened the game with a goal for the Tribe around three minutes into the first half, but the play was called offsides. Eberle found another opportunity in the seventh minute, pushing the shot just wide. It wouldn’t take much longer for the Tribe to get onto the scoreboard, though, as senior midfielder Graham Guidry scored a penalty kick in the ninth minute, giving the College a 1-0 lead early in the game.

A picked off pass led to the Tribe gaining momentum up the field in the 11th minute, but the College’s advance was stagnated by the Cougars’ defense. The next 10 minutes showed some possession and movement up the field by both teams, none of which came close to a goal.

Tensions rose when Cougar midfielder Jake Nicholson was assessed a yellow card after contact in the 26th minute. Nicholson had a corner kick opportunity just a few minutes later, which the Tribe defense held off.

The Tribe got its own corner kick in the 34th minute. Freshman midfielder James Bradley put the ball into the box, which sophomore fullback Sam Golan headed to junior fullback Tanner Shane about 15 yards out. Shane hit a perfect volley into the back of the net to put the College ahead 2-0

The Tribe came back up the field immediately, with junior midfielder Lee Hogge setting up junior midfielder Reeves Trott to score a goal for the Tribe in the 35th minute. The College had scored its third goal of the night and second goal in two minutes.

The rest of the first half yielded little action, except for a yellow card on Hogge in the 42nd minute and a yellow card on Cougar midfielder Liam Huddock for a slide tackle in the 44th. The Tribe headed into halftime with a 3-0 lead.

The chippiness of the first half persisted in the second, as a foul on the Cougars resulted in a free kick in the 47th minute for Bradley that was not capitalized upon.

Minutes later, the Tribe pushed the ball up the field, creating momentum for senior fullback Remi Frost to convert a two-on-one with senior midfielder Marcel Berry to extend the Tribe’s lead 4-0 in the 50th minute. Frost celebrated his first career goal by taking off his shirts, receiving a yellow card on the play.

“I don’t think it was just about us scoring goals,” Shane said. “We executed plays perfectly. I had a great assist from Sam [Golan], [who] fought for a header and came right to my foot. I just did what I had to do and put it away.”

Junior midfielder Cole Smith had an opportunity to extend the Tribe’s lead in the 58th minute on a kick from the left, but it went wide. Only a couple of minutes later, Cougar midfielder Tucker Effron received a red card following an emotional outburst and disrespect towards an official.

The rest of the game was on cruise control for the Tribe. Senior goalkeeper Will Rosenbaum substituted in for senior goalkeeper Sam Onyeador, and the College’s bench players got a chance to stretch their legs to close out its regular season. Cougar midfielder Matt Nozedar would find a goal in the 82nd minute, preventing the clean sheet end to the Cougars’ season. Rosenbaum would redeem himself with a save in the 85th.

Bell and Bustamante did not see any playing time this game, and head coach Chris Norris gave insight on their current conditions and game plan for their upcoming playoff match.

“They’re carrying some injuries,” Norris said. “They’re not long-term injuries. We’re hopeful that they’ll have a role to play on Saturday, but we still got a few days to figure out what they’ll be capable of.”

Norris talked about the importance of building confidence among the bench and role-players heading into the postseason.

“We were able to play a lot of guys, which gave us the opportunity to continue to build depth, but even more importantly, gave some guys that have been carrying some injuries the opportunity to not play heavy minutes tonight,” Norris said. “Again, we hope to get a couple of the guys that weren’t able to play tonight, or that we weren’t able to use in bigger stretches, to get those guys back and available.”

After the game, Shane talked about scoring his first goal of the season as and how it built confidence as a player and a team.

“I don’t think it was just about us scoring goals,” Shane said. “We executed plays perfectly. I had a great assist from Sam [Golan], [who] fought for a header and came right to my foot. I just did what I had to do and put it away.”

“I don’t think we had our best performance when we went up there,” Frost said. “Now that we know what to expect, and we’re playing better, I think it will be a very fun game.”

Frost gave insight on the game plan for the Tribe’s opening playoff match against Delaware and how its regular season victory over the Blue Hens will affect the team’s mentality for Saturday.

“I don’t think we had our best performance when we went up there,” Frost said. “Now that we know what to expect, and we’re playing better, I think it will be a very fun game.”

The Tribe prepares for its first-round match of the CAA playoffs Saturday, Nov. 3 against Delaware.