TRIBE 0, WAKE FOREST 1
Despite holding the nation’s top-ranked offense scoreless in regulation, the College of William and Mary could not put up any points against no. 1 Wake Forest University. The Demon Deacons tallied the winning goal in the first overtime to secure a 1-0 triumph in the NCAA Tournament’s second round.
The overtime goal resulted from a scrum in front of Tribe sophomore keeper Andrew McAdams in the 95th minute. The Demon Deacons’ leading scorer, Cody Arnoux, corralled a loose ball and slipped it under an outstretched McAdams.
For the College, the loss marked the end of an encouraging season. The Tribe finished with its best record (11-7-3) since the 2002 campaign, while advancing to the NCAA Tournament second round for the eighth time in school history.
“It was obviously disappointing to lose, but it was a great culmination of our season,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “It was arguably our best performance of the year. The thing that was most rewarding to me was that we played with them. We didn’t sit back. We had a fair amount of possession. We created some good chances and we defended extremely well.”
The Demon Deacons held a lopsided 22-6 shot advantage over the Tribe, yet barely nudged the College in the shots on goal category with a 5-3 margin. Coming into the contest, Wake Forest averaged 3.4 goals per game and had been held scoreless in regulation only twice all season.
“They are as good as an attacking team as I’ve seen in a while in college soccer,” Norris said. “We didn’t allow them to get behind us, so a lot of their shots were shots from distance.”
The College registered some of the best scoring chances for either team.
In the 57th minute, junior forward Andrew Hoxie slipped the ball to sophomore forward Alan Koger, who ripped a shot from the left side of the box. The ball rang off the near post behind Wake goalie Akira Fitzgerald, but it scattered away from the goal. The Demon Deacons had chances too, finding the crossbar twice and the post once.
Koger had an earlier opportunity to put the College on the scoreboard in the 42nd minute, but the forward could not guide a header into the net. The chance resulted when junior defender Roger Bothe and junior forward Price Thomas combined on a give-and-go down the left flank, freeing Bothe in the corner to turn and loft a cross to an unmarked Koger at the far post.
“We knew going into the game it would be a difficult game to win,” Norris said. “But when you put so much into it, and we performed so well for the majority of the game, to be so close to pulling off what would arguably have been one of the biggest wins in the program’s history and then falling just short was draining emotionally.”
In third round NCAA Tournament action, defending national champion Wake Forest moved on with a resounding 7-0 defeat of Dartmouth University. The score augments the Tribe’s accomplishments against the Deacons and bodes well for its future.
Senior captain and midfielder Doug McBride and senior forward Nathan Belcher have exhausted their eligibility, but 24 players on the roster are expected to return for the 2009 campaign.
“In terms of the talent and the ability of the guys we have remaining, I am really excited,” Norris said. “I think the sky’s the limit in terms of what they are capable of.”