Led by senior forward Alan Koger’s late goal, William and Mary (9-2-1, 4-1-1 CAA) extended its unbeaten streak to six games by defeating Virginia Commonwealth 1-0 Saturday night.
Koger’s goal, his fourth of the season, came midway into the second half, when he made a run down the right side. After gathering a pass from junior midfielder Nick Abrigo, the senior broke past the stout VCU defense and fired the ball into the far corner of the goal to give the Tribe some breathing room in a close game.
“It was obviously a game, at that point, that was on a knife’s edge and could have gone either way,” Head Coach Chris Norris said. “It was a great goal, and it was something we had talked about at halftime — that they are very compressed defensively — and we were talking about trying to find the space where we could break their pressure.”
The goal led to a revitalized second half for the Tribe, which came out slow in the beginning of the game. During a very defensive first half, neither team managed to get very close to the other’s goal — much of the game was played in the middle third of the pitch as the teams fought for control.
The Tribe defense made the plays where it counted, though. The game was senior goalkeeper Andrew McAdams’ second shutout in a row, and fourth on the season. He kept the College in the game when Rams midfielder C.J. Gehin-Scott sent a shot toward the left side of the box, diving and pushing the ball away.
Despite the slow first half, the College ended up with the offensive advantage. The team tallied 14 shots and three shots on goal, while the Rams could only manage eight shots and one shot on goal for the game.
“Our last three halves before this game we were really starting to hit our stride,” Koger said. “We came in kind of slow in the first half, maybe the hype against Wake Forest set us back a little bit. Second half we picked it up, the whole team, and we got the win, it’s great.”
“Confidence is a critical thing, and it’s also a fragile thing,” Norris said. “Right now, because we’ve been playing very well and getting results, we’re confident. That’s the best thing we can have going for us at this stage of the season, is the confidence to know that we can step on the field and beat anybody on a given night.”
The Tribe hopes to ride that confidence into its next game, an important CAA matchup at James Madison on Oct. 20.
“We’re looking one game at a time. Win the game at JMU, get a result, and see where it goes from there,” Koger said.