Two years ago, William and Mary’s season ended on an overtime goal in the second round of the NCAA Tournament versus Wake Forest. While it wasn’t a tournament win, or even much of an upset, Tuesday’s victory over the Demon Deacons gave the College a small sense of redemption for that tournament loss.
The Tribe (8-2-1, 1-1 CAA) defeated Wake Forest 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from sophomore midfielder Ben Anderson and senior midfielder Jimmy Carroll.
Carroll’s goal, his second of the season, came off of a long pass down the left side from senior forward Alan Koger. Carroll collected the ball on the breakaway and sent the shot past the keeper to the near post and into the back of the net.
“We’ve played them for the past few years at their place, and it has been close,” Carroll said. “Finally, to win at home is awesome for me because I know it has been so close and they are such a powerhouse.”
A perennial national championship contender, Wake Forest came into Tuesday’s match ranked well behind the College, which was listed as No. 8 in the recently released RPI rankings. The Tribe lived up to its hype, playing aggressively and almost scoring on a header from Kroger in the 10th minute of the match.
Despite three shots on goal in the first period, the Tribe would not get on the board until Anderson’s goal one minute after halftime.
“We thought we were playing reasonably well in the first half,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “We had to chase the first goal of the game. We did some good things in the first half, and we had to continue that. Obviously, getting a goal inside of the first minute of the second half really breaks things open.”
A strong back line and solid effort from Koger up front to maintain possession in the attacking third helped the Tribe weather the storm early on in the first half. The Demon Deacons tallied five shots in the first period, as a leaky midfield let the Wake Forest attackers run free at the Tribe defense.
“It was difficult because they were coming through from the midfield and we were having to step to them because they were beating our guys,” freshman back Will Smith said. “We had to pick them up. But [senior back] Derek [Buckley] came through with some big tackles; [freshman back] Roshan [Patel] and [senior back] Mike [DiNuzzo] got the job done.”
The Tribe defense, along with senior goalkeeper Andrew McAdams, combined to put up its third shutout of the season.
With most of its non-conference schedule under its belt, the College now returns its attention to CAA competition, with Virginia Commonwealth coming to Williamsburg Saturday.
“It’s hard because you have such a big win, but you really have to forget about that game and focus on VCU,” Carroll said. “VCU is going to be a totally different game. I know they have a bunch of players from different countries. As long as we put this victory behind us, and don’t get too cocky or too confident and go in focused again, I think we should be fine.”