On paper, Wednesday’s men’s soccer match between GW and Howard University appeared to be a mismatch.
The Colonials started five freshmen and were without the services of co-captain Ben Ferry, who is sidelined with a knee injury. Howard lost just one senior from a team that went to the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
But GW proved why matches aren’t played on paper. The Colonials (1-0) earned a 3-1 victory at South Riding Field in their season opener.
“It was a very gutsy performance,” GW head coach George Lidster said. “I was so pleased with the play of the whole team. They played like men today.”
GW took a 2-0 lead into halftime, but the Bison (0-1) started the second half in aggressive fashion, Lidster said. In the 55th minute, Howard’s Gregory Simmonds beat freshman goalie Nick Parypinski from 14 yards out.
“Howard was really putting the pressure on us,” Lidster said. “It looked a little ominous for us for awhile.”
GW clung to a 2-1 lead until the team went back on the attack in the 69th minute. A crossing pass from Marty Williams was deflected by Michael Goldman before freshman Jason Holloway scored his second goal of the game to give GW a 3-1 lead that it would never lose.
The Colonials took control of the match early, when senior Craig Jones buried a free kick into the lower right corner of the goal in the third minute.
“It was good for us to get the early goal,” Lidster said. “We started five freshmen, and that really took the pressure off them and the whole team.”
A second free kick by Jones in the 34th minute led to a 2-0 GW lead. The kick deflected off Howard’s wall and was headed by Williams to Holloway for his first collegiate goal.
While the win was an important one for the Colonials record-wise and mentally, Lidster told his players to temper their enthusiasm.
“If we are going to win, we are going to have be scrappy like we were today,” Lidster said. “We have to take it one game at a time. We are not going to get carried away with this win.”
Ferry injured his knee in GW’s scrimmage against James Madison University Saturday. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI this week to determine the extent of the injury and how many games he will miss.
The Colonials are back in action Saturday at 2 p.m. when they travel across town to face Georgetown University.