La Gamba scores first goal, Longwood draws with William & Mary

Published 1:16 am Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Antonio La Gamba struck less than a minute into the match, and Longwood men’s soccer drew 1-1 with William & Mary on Tuesday night.

The Lancers (2-0-1) stayed unbeaten on the young season behind the early goal and some late game grit, although both teams walked away feeling as if the match could have been theirs.

How it happened:

High pressure paid off for Longwood off the opening kickoff by William & Mary (1-2-1). Less than 30 seconds into the match, the Lancer press forced a turnover by W&M goalkeeper Cole McNally inside his own 18.

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La Gamba pounced on the ball at the top of the box and drilled it home for an early 1-0 lead. It was his first regular season collegiate goal.

However, William & Mary answered back right away with a quick combination down the sideline. Ian Krajna slipped a low cross inside the six, and Alfredo Bozalongo banged it home from point blank to even the score.

From that point on, the two teams traded body blows without the knockout punch. Longwood racked up 16 shots, with five on target, and William & Mary had 11.

Max Hinke made a pair of reflex saves in goal after halftime, and his back line cleared one off the goal line as well to keep the score level.

The Lancers also generated good looks of their own. Darcy Moffat had a pair of shots whistle just wide of the goal, and Emilio Segovia nodded a wonderful cross from Gonzalo Carrasco just over the bar with 50 seconds to play.

What they said:

“Overall, the staff are pleased with how things are shaping,” said Longwood Head Coach Jon Atkinson. “I can see the confidence growing, our identity is forming, and if we had a sharper end of the spear tonight, I think we could have kicked on and got a real result.”

“It was really exciting to get on the scoresheet early, have my teammates all around me and have a lot of people here at the game,” La Gamba said. “I saw a lot of familiar faces from class.”

“I think we defended really well,” La Gamba added about the key to earning the draw. “I think we were a bit surprised to score that early, and they caught us off guard two or three minutes in because we didn’t really know if we should sit back or go at them and score another goal.”

“We could have been a bit better, but we did create loads of chances,” La Gamba said about the result. “Darcy [Moffat], Simao [Coelho], Gonzalo [Carrasco] came out and played really well, which helped us a lot, but we should have scored a second goal.”

“William & Mary is a really good team, and they’ve always been competing for their conference the last few years,” La Gamba said about his team’s mentality. “We take it as a positive, but we are disappointed not to win in the same breath. They are a great team, and it was good to come out and play them early in the season. Now, we go to Navy and are really hungry.”

Up next for Longwood:

Longwood heads to Navy to take on the Midshipmen on Friday, September 8. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., and the match will be aired on ESPN+.