NORFOLK, Va. - The William and Mary men's soccer team defeated No. 8-ranked Old Dominion, 2-1, on Wednesday night from the ODU Soccer Complex. The College reeled off two unanswered second-half goals courtesy of sophomore Marcus Luster and freshman Ryan Flesch, who scored the game-winner in the 87th minute. The win improves the Tribe's record to 3-9-3 overall and 1-4-2 in CAA action, while the Monarchs fall to 8-2-2 on the season and 2-2-2 in league play. The victory also gives the College an early lead, 10-0, in this year's Optima Health Challenge.
"It was a great win for us tonight," stated head coach Chris Norris. "ODU is a very good team and plays great soccer. I am proud of our guys. It's been a difficult stretch, but the players have stayed committed and united. We will certainly enjoy the moment."
The Monarchs jumped out to an early lead with a goal in the 16th minute as senior Chris Harmon netted classmate Yannick Smith's assist. For the remainder of the half, the Green and Gold's back line held the ODU attack in check as it limited the Monarchs to two shots after the initial score. Making his second consecutive career start, sophomore Alex Harrington finished the half making one save as he turned away Smith in the sixth minute.
The second-half started with juniors Chris Perez and Roshan Patel taking consecutive shots that were aggressive looks, but were just a bit off target. ODU countered with four unanswered shots in the span of five minutes, but the Tribe withstood the Monarch advance as it looked to counter. With the momentum in its favor, W&M struck with the tying goal in the 65th minute. Off a break, Perez placed a through ball to a streaking Luster, who then blasted home the equalizer. The goal was Luster's team-high third of the season, while the assist was Perez's second of the year.
In a match that seemed headed for overtime, Flesch put to rest any assumption of the sort with his second career goal in the 87th minute. After corralling possession, the Manassas, Va., native cranked a shot from the left side of the box that lashed the top right netting of goal, as he gave the Tribe a 2-1 edge with just minutes remaining. The Monarchs threatened with two corner kick opportunities in the 87th minute, but the attempts were thwarted away by the Green and Gold.
ODU owned the advantage in shots, 16-6, and held a slim edge in shots on goal, 3-2. However, the Monarchs' didn't register a save for the night as both W&M attempts on frame went for goals.
All-time, the Green and Gold increased its series advantage over Old Dominion to 23-20-8, with the win on Wednesday night. Additionally, it was the College's first win over a top 10 opponent since defeating No. 5-ranked SMU, 3-2 in the 2011 season opener from Dallas, Texas.
W&M returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 24, as it travels to James Madison for a contest slated to begin at 7 p.m.