Johannsson leads men to second win

The GW men’s soccer team rallied behind two goals and one assist from senior Arnar Johannsson to defeat Towson University Saturday, 4-1. It was the Colonials’ second victory of the year, with both wins coming at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex.

After a slow start to his team’s season, GW head coach George Lidster said the game was a significant victory for the Colonials.

“Obviously it was important. We have slumped since the first game of the season,” he said. “We haven’t risen to the occasion really and the guys are still trying to find themselves as a team. We have a lot more to work on and our first road trip is at two of the perennial best teams in the Atlantic 10 in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so it’s certainly good to get one under the belt.”

Playing in front of a home crowd of 162, GW (2-6) struck first when senior Trent Wilee placed a shot in the lower left hand corner. Wilee’s goal was set up by a double assist that began on senior Jason Popik’s corner kick to the middle of the box. The score sparked a four-goal run for the Colonials, who handed Towson (0-7) its seventh straight loss and kept the Tigers winless on the season.

Lidster and Johannsson both said the difference in this game from their previous four losses was conditioning.

“The fitness is better,” Johannsson said. “And because we play quicker and we’re running more, we play better.”

Lidster agreed.

“We certainly have been working hard in training,” he said. “We got fitter as a group and we’ve gotten more positive because of it.”

Johannsson’s goals came in a five-minute span starting in the 65th minute, when freshman Jeremiah Burke sent the ball from left to center and hit a streaking Johannsson. The forward then put the ball past an outstretched Towson goalkeeper and into the lower right corner to give GW a 2-0 lead.

Sophomore Steve Brown set up Johannsson’s second goal, crossing the ball from left to right to hit Johannsson, who then redirected the pass into the lower right corner of the goal.

Popik scored on a through ball from freshman Joseph Siegel to make the score 4-0 before Nigel Marples scored the Tigers’ lone goal in the 81st minute, well after the game was in hand. It was the only shot that got past sophomore goalkeeper Derek Biss, who made five saves for GW. Towson’s Zak Thompson made six saves on ten shots.

Johannsson said the win was an important statement for his team.

“Because we lost four in a row, we had to come out here and show everyone we can play,” he said. “And I think we did that today.”

Lidster said the strong performance also shows his players are starting to know themselves better.

“We’ve been playing ball slowly, more square balls and backwards balls,” he said. “But we’re not skillful enough to do that. So today you saw more forward balls, we had longer balls and it mixes the game up a little bit. We’re starting to learn our limitations.”

The Colonials start A-10 play when they travel to Massachusetts on Friday for a 3:30 p.m. game.

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