Men’s soccer defeated William & Mary in double overtime on Thursday night, pushing them through to the second round of the NCAA championship tournament.
The Lions (12-2-3, 5-1-1 Ivy) began their tournament opener in Williamsburg uncharacteristically, firing just two shots and conceding in the first half. In the 31st minute, forward Ryder Bell took a long shot from yards outside the goalie box to put William & Mary (11-5-5) in the lead going into halftime.
Beginning the second half, the Lions were slightly more offensive, taking three shots in the first 15 minutes. In the 77th minute, the Light Blue had the chance to once again prove its strength from set pieces with a corner kick. Taken quickly by junior defender Nike Azuma, the cross found the head of senior defender and midfielder Zach Morant, who knocked the ball into the lower right corner.
In the rest of regulation time, both sides had further scoring chances, including a shot by junior defender Brendan Dennis that hit the post. In the 103rd minute, the Lions proved themselves with their eighth corner of the game. Senior defender Alex Bangerl has been the Lions’ target on corners all season, and after he headed the ball into the post, junior forward Kynan Rocks secured a simple finish to end the game and put Columbia through to the next round.
Moving forward, the Light Blue will take on the tournament’s top seed, Wake Forest, on Sunday. Wake Forest (17-1-2) had a first-round bye and will be well-rested and prepared for the Lions visit. The Demon Deacons lost the championship in a penalty shoot-out against Stanford last year in the finals, and are they heavy favorites going into Sunday’s matchup.
The Lions will kick off against Wake Forest at 5 p.m. on Sunday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.