GW’s A-10 title defense ends in first round loss

Temple denied the GW men’s soccer team an Atlantic 10 Championship repeat in tumultuous weather Thursday as the Owls shut out the Colonials 2-0. The No. 3 seed Owls would advance to the finals before losing to Rhode Island, while the No. 6 seed Colonials had their hot streak and season ended at First Market Stadium on the University of Richmond campus.

“It was one of those really (bad) nights where everyone realized that anything can happen,” junior Matt Miller said. “We started really slow and timid and we really didn’t settle down until after they scored their first goal.”

The Owls took the early lead in the ninth minute when Temple junior Nate Webb scored off a deflected pass for his team-leading 10th goal of the season. He would later score his second goal of the game and his eleventh of the year in the 83rd minute, when he took on GW sophomore goalie Derek Biss one-on-one and powered a shot by him.

It was Webb’s ability to convert his opportunities that gave Temple the victory, after GW controlled the tempo of play for most of the game.

“We dominated,” Miller said. “We dominated shots, possession, momentum – everything.”

With 25-mile per hour winds swirling through the game, the Colonials’ year-long problem of not converting in key situations plagued the team. Temple goalkeeper Patrick Hannigan stopped all three shots on goal that he faced, and GW could not get any quality shots off despite many runs and well-placed through balls.

The one time the Colonials did beat Hannigan in the 85th minute, the goal was waved off due to a foul by freshman Joseph Siegel on the play. Instead of having the opportunity to go for a tie in the last five minutes, the foul effectively sealed the game for the Owls.

“We just couldn’t put it in,” Miller said. “We had four or five good, albeit frustrating attempts.”

The Colonials fell to 7-11-2 for the season and dropped to an even .500 in conference. Temple, on the other hand, capitalized on its first ever Atlantic 10 Tournament victory by upsetting 17th-ranked Duquesne in an overtime penalty kick shootout to advance to the A-10 Championship. The Owls faced Rhode Island, which upset Richmond 1-0 on Friday, for the conference title, but lost 3-1.

Senior Arnar Johannsson finished the season leading the Colonials in goals (12), assists (5), shots (75) and points (29). GW went 2-0-1 in its final three games just to make the tournament, including a 1-1 tie against Richmond in the season finale.

Miller said he felt that the seniors, while upset about the loss, were proud of their team’s commitment to staying positive throughout a difficult season that began with a 1-6 non-conference record.

“Everyone’s hopes were high, and it’s always upsetting to end on a loss,” he said. “But making the A-10 the way we did, and the amazing accomplishment of stepping it up and coming together as a team at crunch time, was great for all of us.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.