VIRGINIA BEACH -- Shots were going everywhere but into the goal Wednesday, until Josh McNamara found the range for a game decider.
The rookie from Springfield, Va. (West Springfield) got off a hard shot from about 10 yards out, off an assist by Brian Cornell (Front Royal, Va./Warren County), to put the ball into the right side of the net, lifting Virginia Wesleyan College's Marlins to a thrilling 1-0 victory over Hampden-Sydney College Tigers on Foster Field at the Trinder Center.
VWC's victory in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference opener for both teams improved the Marlins' record to 3-2 overall, while H-SC dropped to 2-3. The win was also the sixth straight for VWC in the series with the Tigers and the 12th in the last 13 meetings between the schools.
It was anything but easy however, despite the Marlins' ability to get all the shots they wanted. VWC finished with a lopsided 21-4 advanage, limiting H-SC to one shot in the second half. The Marlins also haled a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks.
But, H-SC's defense came through to keep things in check, as Jackson Parker (Raleigh, N.C./Sanderson), Chris Whiteside (Virginia Beach/Frank W. Coxk), and Caleb Watkins (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) were among the Tigers who managed to break up several VWC scoring attempts. Goalie Duncan Oliphant (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) also did his part with six saves.
Even so, the Tigers dodged one bullet after another as Virginia Wesleyan had numerous shots miss the mark by inches. John McKenzie (Virginia Beach/Landstown), Jordan Elgin (Coppell, Texas/Coppell),Isaac Arrington (DeSoto, Texas/Midlothian, Texas), and McNamara sparked a consistent Marlin attack on the goal.
H-SC used a more aggressive offensive attack in the second half to make things interesting, but Virginia Wesleyan's defense refused to give up much of anything. Stephen Sawicki (Bethesda, Md./Betheda-Chevy Chase) emerged big for VWC to help turn back anything driven deep by the Tigers.
Senior goalie Jay Coble (Portsmouth, Va./Churchland) came througgh with two saves for the Marlins.
Virginia Wesleyan competes again on Friday, Sept. 16, playing in Atlanta against Emory University and former VWC head coach Sonny Travis. Game time is 7 p.m.