Tim Larkin scored when American failed to make a routine clearing pass, giving William and Mary a 1-0 victory over the Eagles yesterday at American.

It was the first loss of the season for the Eagles (12-1-1), ranked No. 8 nationally in the Soccer America magazine poll and No. 11 in the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America poll. The last time the Eagles lost in regular season play was Oct. 6, 1984, against Loyola of Baltimore. William and Mary, ranked seventh in the Middle Atlantic region, improved to 11-3-1.

Larkin, a sophomore from Fairfax and one of four William and Mary players from Robinson High School, scored with 40:04 left when he intercepted Glen Buchanan's clearing attempt.

"One of their players tried to clear it," said Larkin. "It came right to me. I took one touch to the right and hit it right-footed to the far post." His shot from 15 yards out sailed into the top right corner of the net beyond the reach of American goalie Stephen Pfeil.

"The goal shouldn't have been scored. It was an easy clearance," said American Coach Pete Mehlert. "You have to give them credit, but I still feel we are the better team. If you're on top, everybody's up for you."

In the first half, the Indians had two good scoring opportunities, but assumed a defensive posture for much of the half as the Eagles threatened. "We started tentatively," said William and Mary Coach Al Albert.

After the goal, American threatened again. Fernando Iturbe, playing with his right knee heavily taped, nearly scored on three occasions late in the game.

"We're not out of it," said Albert. "The way the region is, as long as you have someone decent left on your schedule, you have a chance to make the NCAAs."

The Eagles play George Mason, ranked 14th nationally, Wednesday. They play Clemson, ranked No. 1 in both polls, Saturday in Clemson.