The players bellowed, the fans roared, the cool autumn breeze picked up sharply, and the gaze of all spectators gathered at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex shifted to seniors Joseph Siegel and Jeremiah Burke Sunday afternoon as they stepped onto the field for the final home game of their collegiate careers. Ninety minutes later, the two integral members of the GW men’s soccer team left the Mount Vernon field one last time with a 2-1 victory over Atlantic 10 rival Xavier.
“It felt great, I really enjoyed being able to come out and play with the guys for one last time, especially Joe (Siegel),” Burke said.
With only three games left to play in the season, the Colonials(XX-XX, XX-XX A-10) knew they had to play well if they wanted to catch the Muskateers, who stood five points ahead of them in the A-10 standings, or even keep any hopes of qualifying for the A-10 conference tournament.
“It was a game we needed to win,” freshman Andrew Stadler said.
Stadler’s attitude helped propel GW to the victory. Coach George Lidster nudged his players to press the attack and win the ball. The players responded, unleashing a wave of shots early in the half that seemed to wear down the stamina of the Musketeer defense. The Colonials’ attack broke through in the 60th minute with a goal by Stadler, his third shot on goal of the day.
Early play found the two teams battling for position on the field, trying to control the tempo of the game to suit their styles of play. Xavier struck first, in the 15th minute, when Xavier midfielder Matt Kmetz capitalized on a penalty kick. Despite being down, the Colonials remained cool and collected, trying to make their way through the Musketeer defense. Freshman Eric Segnini-Perez knocked in a loose ball in the 20th minute to register the only other Colonial goal.
Two days earlier, GW battled to a 1-1 tie against Dayton. Siegel scored the Colonials’ only goal, in the 32nd minute. The Flyers tied the game six minutes later, but neither team was able to take the victory in the remaining 82 minutes.
“We could have won that game, we out-shot them,” Coach George Lidster said.
Next week the Colonials will finish its regular season on the road at La Salle on Sunday. Although Sunday’s win lifted them to a seventh place tie in the A-10 standings, the Colonials will likely have to defeat the Explorers in order to qualify for the conference tournament.
Lidster said: “We still have a shot (at making the tournament) until the fat lady sings.”