After 110 grueling minutes of soccer on Saturday, the GW men’s soccer team could not find the back of the net. Fortunately for the Colonials, neither could their opponents.
The Colonials and the University of Delaware finished knotted 0-0 in GW’s home opener after 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods. GW has now gone two consecutive games without a goal, a scoring drought that has spanned more than 200 minutes.
“We’ve got to score goals,” head coach George Lidster said after the game. “Somebody’s got to come through and start putting the ball in the net, which will take the pressure off the team.”
The Colonials (1-2-1) outshot the Blue Hens 19-12, but GW recorded only one more shot on goal than Delaware. Early in the first half, junior forward Abimbola Pedro hit the crossbar with a shot. In the second overtime, with Delaware’s goalkeeper out of position, freshman midfielder Erick Perez-Segnini fired a shot destined for the net, only for it to be redirected by a Blue Hen defender.
Delaware’s best scoring opportunity came with less than a minute remaining in regulation when they sent three consecutive shots at the goal. GW goalkeeper Greg Yahr and his 6-foot-4-inch frame, along with three defenders, kept the ball out of the goal.
The team’s intensity pleased Lidster, he said. In recent practices, Lidster and his assistant coaches Bryan Davis and Craig Jones accentuated the importance of playing with a higher level of intensity and mental toughness.
“This was the most intense game of the season,” senior Joe Siegel said. “We had a few intense practices this week and it just carried over into the game today.”
“We need to keep up our intensity,” sophomore David Leon said. “(We know we’re playing with enough energy when we’re) courageous, believing in one another … winning every tackle, and giving 110 percent effort every time.”
Emblematic of the team’s improved toughness is senior co-captain Jeremiah Burke. Heralded by Lidster for playing through injuries, Burke played Saturday’s game with a soft cast on his right forearm due to a broken bone.
The physicality of the game caused 27 fouls in the game, including yellow cards issued to Leon and classmate Mike Briscoe.
“It was a physical game,” said Lidster. “It’s up to the players to figure out what the referee will let go and what he will not, and I think the players did quite well in that sense.”
For Wednesday’s match with local rival American at Mount Vernon, the Colonials expect sophomore Michael Rollings and freshman Nikolay Aleksandrov back from injury.