A win over an experienced team from James Madison University would have been a surprise for a young GW men’s soccer team in its first and only exhibition match of 1998.
The Colonials didn’t have that surprise under their hats Saturday, as the Dukes beat GW 3-0 in Harrisonburg, Va.
GW suffered the growing pangs most young teams face – a lack of experience and lapses on defense, GW head coach George Lidster said.
“The inexperience is going to be there all season,” Lidster said. “We need to concentrate at all times. The mental lapses we can hopefully eradicate in time.”
Lidster said all three goals scored by James Madison were the result of defensive mistakes by the Colonials.
The scrimmage was very informal – the two teams played three 30-minute periods and the coaches were allowed to stop the game to talk to their players.
“I managed to see what players could do at this level,” Lidster said.
“They did quite well considering where we were. We were about as ready as we could be in 10 days of preparation.” Lidster praised the play of freshman goalkeeper Nick Parypinski. He replaces Jamie Hadzima, who graduated in May.
Perhaps the worst part of Saturday’s loss was a knee injury to co-captain Ben Ferry, who left the scrimmage at the halfway point. The extent of the injury could not be diagnosed this weekend, but its seriousness will be determined this week when the swelling dissipates.
Lidster said several other players sustained minor injuries, but none of them should affect the team as it prepares for its season opener Wednesday afternoon at home versus Howard University. While Lidster and his team are keeping an optimistic attitude, a victory over Howard, an NCAA Tournament participant last season, would be an upset.
“I can’t see this team firing on all cylinders until halfway through the season, as young as we are,” Lidster said. “The match against Howard is going to be a rough baptism.”
Lidster said he hopes the Colonials will make up for inexperience against Howard and other tough competition early in the season with talent and conditioning.
“We have to keep in shape and be able to match other teams physically,” Lidster said. “As a young squad, we can’t afford to not do those things.”