The Willam and Mary men's soccer team withstood a brutal flurry of shots in the second half to down VCU 1-0 in Richmond, and keep pace at the top of an ever-tightening Colonial Athletic Association race. The Tribe improves to 8-5 overall and 5-2 in the CAA, while the Rams fall to 8-6 and 3-3 in the league.
The Tribe got on top early in the match and held on from there thanks to stellar defensive play. Towards the beginning of the 17th minute, redshirt-junior Ben Anderson (Mechanicsville, Va.) took a corner kick ont he left side, and lofted the ball just far enough to reach the near post. That was all the opening sophomore John Ciampa (Arlington, Va.) would need, as he elevated over the defense and headed the ball into the back of the net for his second goal (and eventually, second game-winner) of the season. It was also Anderson's second assist of the fall.
With its nose in front, the burden fell to the Tribe defense to make the margin stand-up and the unit proved equal to the task. While VCU could manage only six shots in the first half, the Rams unloaded a staggering 12 attempts in the final 45 minutes as the host team grew increasingly more desperate for an equalizer. Senior goalkeeper Colin Smolinsky (Fredericksburg, Va.) was having none of it, making six saves to tally his seventh clean-sheet of the year. He now moves into a tie for seventh on the Tribe's single-season record book with seven shutouts, and needs just two more to tie the record held by Andrew McAdams and Adin Brown.
The win kept W&M tied for the CAA lead with 15 points and just five games left in the regular season race. The Tribe will put that lead to the test on Wednesday, hosting co-leader James Madison at 7 p.m. at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field.