William and Mary scored an early goal and withstood an offensive flurry from Virginia Commonwealth Saturday night in Richmond to secure a 1-0 victory and pick up an important three points, keeping the College (8-5, 5-2 CAA) in second place of the CAA standings, a half game behind James Madison and Old Dominion.
VCU took the first chances of the game, forcing senior goalkeeper Colin Smolinsky to make his first save in the 12th minute. But it was the Tribe that struck first. Junior midfielder Ben Anderson sent a corner kick in from the left side, finding sophomore midfielder John Ciampa, who got a head on it and beat the keeper to the left to give the Tribe the only goal it would need. The goal was the second of the season for Ciampa.
Although the Tribe was able to hang on for the victory, the Rams threw everything they had at Smolinsky and the College’s defense in the second half, garnering five corner kicks to none for the Tribe, and outshooting the College 12-2. Twice in the second half, VCU players had a chance to score but pushed the ball off of the left goalpost and out of play. VCU ended the game with 18 shots. Smolinsky ended the game with six saves for the Tribe’s seventh shutout of the season.
The one-goal victory leaves the Tribe even overall with its opponents in total goals scored, 12-12. Seven out of the Tribe’s 13 games have ended 1-0, and the College is 5-2 in those contests. Overall, the College is 8-0 when scoring a goal, versus 1-5 when allowing a goal.
The College is last in the CAA in shots per game, last in corners per game, second-to-last in goals per game, but second in the league in goals allowed per game. The Tribe is taking ten shots per game and allowing 14.
Even though they have been outshot by opponents in nine of their 13 games, they are 5-4 in those contests.
The victory was the Tribe’s third in a row over the Rams. The team returns to Williamsburg tomorrow night against James Madison before going on the road for games against Delaware and Wake Forest.