Riding high off defeating the No. 1 team in the nation, the Creighton University Blue Jays, The College of William & Mary continued its run of good form into Rudd Field Friday Sept. 20 and knocked off the Elon University men's soccer team 1-0 in double overtime.
Senior left back Roshan Patel headed home a cross from junior midfielder Chris Albiston with 2:01 remaining in the second overtime period to break the scoreless contest.
“It’s a tough way to lose because we can have no response,” said Elon head coach Darren Powell.
Both teams had spells of good possession, but neither side showed the clinical ability to put the ball in the back of the net until the Tribe tallied late.
Both Elon and William & Mary came into the contest riding high off victories over top-10 opponents, and the stage was set for a showdown between two teams in excellent form.
In the first half, it did not appear as if the game was destined for the pre-match hype. In the first 45 minutes, the Tribe and Phoenix had just two shots apiece, with William & Mary being the only side to hit the target.
"We had a couple good looks at times, but they did a good job keeping their defensive shape,” said sophomore midfielder Charles Howard.
Sophomore forward Caue Da Silva was the only Phoenix to get a shot off in the opening period.
The halftime talks proved beneficial for both sides as the game began to open up. The Phoenix were first to try to get on the scoreboard as Da Silva and Howard each got off shots within the three minutes of the half. Howard’s effort was a well-placed curled effort to the far post that was just pushed aside by the Tribe’s freshman goalkeeper Mac Phillips.
William & Mary produced what at the time was the best chance of the game. In the 67th minute, Albiston rose above the Elon defense to connect with a strong header beating Elon’s junior goalkeeper Nathan Dean. However, Albiston’s effort hit the post. The rebound effort went in, only for the linesman to disallow the goal for offsides.
The Tribe continued to pressure the Elon back four with an array of shots. A long range effort from Patel was saved by Dean in the 75th minute. With two minutes remaining in regulation, a shot from senior midfielder Chris Perez wisped across the face of goal only for his effort to go just wide of the post.
At the end of regulation, the stats showed just how level the two sides were. Both team finished the 90 minutes with nine shots apiece and Elon held a slight edge in corner kicks, 4-3.
The Phoenix struggled to break down a strong William & Mary defense all night, hence the scoreless match.
“We were looking to break them down, (but) they were very solid defensively,” said Powell.
Both teams continued their attacking mentalities into the two overtime periods. Six minutes into extra time, junior forward Jason Waterman held up a long ball setting up sophomore midfielder Myles Manfield for a shot that curled just over the crossbar.
A few minutes later, a mix up in the middle led to a failed clearance which sophomore forward Jackson Eskay was able to get a boot to. However, Eskay’s effort was saved by Dean.
Elon was unable keep the shutout intact as Patel’s header won in for the Tribe.
“It’s just a mental lapse on our part, " Howard said. "We didn’t execute like we wanted to."
The loss to William & Mary wrapped up a busy period for the Phoenix. They took a victory against No. 9 Wake Forest earlier in the week.
The Phoenix will return to the pitch on Wednesday, Sept. 25 when they host Radford University. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.