William and Mary hosted Loyola Maryland Sept. 24 at Martin Family Stadium. Coming off two previous away losses, the College (1-4-2) was able to triumph in the second half over the Greyhounds (2-5), 2-0.
Entering the first half, neither team was able to convert their attempts into a goal. Despite the Tribe’s best efforts, only one attempt was remotely successful — that of a joint effort between senior forward Reeves Trott and senior midfielder Julian Ngoh. Along the right side of the box, Ngoh split two defenders and crossed a pass to Trott. However, Trott’s chance from eight yards out hit off the right post and was retrieved by Greyhounds goalkeeper Chase Vosvick.
Despite an unexciting first half, the College was able to put its offensive spirit forward in the second half — proving to be a dangerous foe against the Greyhounds. In quick succession, freshman midfielder Marcos Villeda and Ngoh each threatened a goal against the Greyhounds, but both were ultimately stopped. However, in the 58th minute, freshman midfielder Nathan Messer was able to combine with Ngoh for the match’s first goal.
Messer created the chance with a slide tackle along the left side of the box, after which he subsequently cut through the defense inside the penalty area. He then sent the ball as a low pass to Ngoh at the penalty spot, and Ngoh was able to hit the shot into the upper right side of the frame past Vovsick. With this goal, Ngoh scored for the second time in three matches and Messer attained his first career assist.
However, this was a night of firsts for the freshmen and it was not long before the Tribe was able to double its lead on the Greyhounds. Eight minutes later, freshman forward Diba Nwegbo took the second goal for himself — the first of his collegiate career.
Greyhounds midfielder Albert Kang fouled Tribe freshman forward Alexander Levengood along the right flank, allowing sophomore midfielder Derin Kokuusli to send in a free kick into the box. Along the way, the kick made its way to Nwegbo who sent in a glancing header from the near side of the six-yard box. Subsequently, his teammates swarmed him as he ran to the corner flag as emotions ran high in this key moment.
After the match, Nwegbo reflected emotionally on his first goal.
“It’s just crazy,” Nwegbo said. “You can’t describe it at all.”
After two consecutive defeats on the road, head coach Chris Norris reflected optimistically on the result of the match.
“We really just talked about sticking to the process,” Norris said. “We felt like we’ve been close in a lot of our games, it’s been one or two lapses that have cost us … and we’ve been competitive against everybody. We believed in each other that we would ultimately get this result at some point. It’s just belief and sticking to the process.”
The College seeks to replicate this success on the road as it travels to Conway, South Carolina as it takes on Coastal Carolina in its next match Sept. 28.