DALLAS, Texas - The No. 13-ranked William and Mary Tribe men's soccer team exacted some revenge on Saturday night, defeating the No. 5-ranked SMU Mustangs, 3-2, in Dallas. Last season, the Mustangs eliminated the Tribe in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. With the win, the Tribe starts the year off at 1-0 for the third time in the last four seasons.
"It was a great to go on the road and beat a good team in SMU," Tribe head coach Chris Norris said after the win. "With a young team, we didn't know what to expect, but this is result that could potentially help us down the road."
Senior Nicolas Abrigo scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to propel the Tribe to the win, while junior Ben Anderson also had a score in the College's season-opening victory. Previous to Saturday's loss to the Tribe, SMU had been undefeated in its previous 20 season-opening matches played at Westcott Field (18-0-2).
The Tribe fell behind the Mustangs early on a great strike from Emmet Kumeh in the 12th minute on a great shot from distance. The College answered back, however, with a score of its own 25 minutes later.
On the attack, Abrigo passed the ball off to sophomore John Ciampa on the left side. Abrigo then took off in to the 18-yard box, taking a great cross from Ciampa. Abrigo did well to finish with his head, beating the SMU keeper to tie the match at 1-1 headed in to the halftime break.
At the end of 45 minutes, SMU had just one more shot than the Tribe, 7-6, but the Mustangs had three shots on-goal to the College's one.
Coming out of the half, the Tribe had a dream start, taking a lead it would not relinquish just 59 seconds in. After a Mustangs' turnover on their side of the pitch, Anderson found himself in some space left of center. From about 30 yards out, Anderson cracked a shot with his left foot that bent to the goalie's right, finding the back of the net. On Anderson's great shot, the Tribe took a 2-1 lead over No. 5-ranked SMU.
Less than 15 minutes later, Abrigo struck again, pushing the Green and Gold lead to 3-1. With the Tribe on the attack, the ball was cleared out of the 18-yard box, finding the foot of Abrigo. The senior took the opportunity, firing a shot from just outside the box. Abrigo's ball deflected off a SMYU defender on the way to goal, beating the keeper to his left for the third score of the match. With his two goals on Saturday, Abrigo has now totaled six scores in his last six matches dating back to last season's CAA Tournament semifinals.
Like any good team, the SMU Mustangs did not relent after going down 3-1. The Mustangs cut the deficit in half in the 78th minute on a corner kick. Preseason Player of the Year Arthur Ivo sent a ball in to the box, finding Aaron Simmons who headed the ball past the W&M keeper.
Simmons' score cut the lead to 3-2, but that's as close as SMU would get, as the Tribe's defense held in the last 12 minutes, giving the College the victory. The win on Saturday marks the highest-ranked opponent the Tribe has defeated since it beat No. 1-ranked Maryland on September 22, 2004.
The No. 13-ranked William and Mary Tribe men's soccer team will return home to Williamsburg to face the St. John's Red Storm on Thursday, September 1. Kickoff at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field is scheduled for 7 p.m.