In the ninth minute of Saturday’s match versus Drexel, senior midfielder Nat Baako lofted ball into the top-left corner of the net for a goal which seemingly caught the entire Dragon’s defense by surprise.
As it turns out, the goal even surprised Baako.
“When the ball came to me I was actually trying to cross the ball,” Baako said. “I think I just hit it the right way at the right time and it just went in. [The goalkeeper] was way off his line, so I saw the ball in going in behind him and I was like, ‘Great.’”
William and Mary (5-2) defeated Drexel 2-1 Saturday night in Williamsburg thanks to goals from Baako and senior forward Ryan Snyder. Synder, who scored his team-leading fifth goal for the season Friday, gave the Tribe a 2-0 lead in the 75th minute, seemingly putting the match out of reach.
But a frenetic Drexel attack in the final 15 minutes of the match threatened to snatch Saturday’s victory from the College’s hands.
“I think we got a little bit conservative there at the end, where we were just trying to defend in the 18 [yard box] as opposed to making sure we got pressure on the ball,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “I think a little bit of that was legs and maybe some nerves as well.”
Senior goalkeeper Andrew McAdams came up with a couple of saves which helped the College preserve the victory. His first challenging stop came in the 64th minute, when the Tribe keeper made a diving stop to his right to block a header from Drexel forward Tal Bubil.
McAdams, who made five saves on the match, also stoned Drexel’s Malcolm LeBourne in the 89th minute, blocking a well struck ball from LaBourne at a distance of less than five yards.
“He is very composed,” Norris said. “He is certainly capable of winning a game for us, coming up with the big save. He came up with a couple of big saves tonight.”
The match was fairly throughout the first half, with the Tribe’s counterattack pushing up the field effectively against the Dragons. The College totaled 16 shots to Drexel’s 14 shots, while each team took nine corners throughout the match.
But it was not until the final 15 minutes of the match when the Tribe attack began to tire and the College’s defense was truly tested.
“There are a lot of last-ditch tackles,” freshman defender Will Smith said. “It can get scary at times, but we are doing a good job. It was a little bit of a disappointing finish, but we got three points.”
With the win, the Tribe moves to 1-1 in the CAA after Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to Old Dominion. Although disappointed with Tuesday’s result, Norris was impressed with the way his team responded in Saturday’s match.
“We know that we needed to bounce back in this game,” Norris said. “We haven’t put together the kind of 90-minute performance that we think we are capable of and we think that will make us a really good team. That was our goal tonight.”