For once, GW’s men’s soccer team could relax during the final few minutes of a game. But up 2-0 against a relatively impotent Georgetown team a way up M Street, tempers still flared throughout, climaxing in a post-game shoving and shouting match between the two in-city rivals.
“There was a lot of hype leading up to this game,” sophomore defender George Garcia said. “It’s always big to beat Georgetown.”
Garcia did his part to ensure a Colonials (6-4) victory, breaking a scoreless tie in the 55th minute with his first career goal after receiving the ball from sophomore Andy Stadler, who had stolen the ball near midfield. Garcia said he knows he has the ability to make shots when the opportunity presents itself, but scoring chances for the defender are rare.
The game was the first GW game not to be decided by one goal since the Colonials beat American 2-0 to open the season Aug. 31. The streak lasted eight games.
“It makes for a change,” head coach George Lidster said.
Redshirt junior Matt Scheer played in goal for the first time this season, replacing senior Greg Yahr, who had struggled somewhat recently. Scheer notched five saves, including a few point-blank ones to keep the game scoreless.
“Sometimes it’s just good to make a change,” Lidster said about his decision to bench Yahr. “It’s not that Matt was great during practice or any better than Greg, but sometimes it’s good to make a change.”
Lidster said he was impressed by Scheer’s communication and noted that the defense – which he described as usually being like “a leaky old boat” – played significantly better against the Hoyas, who dropped to 3-8. Garcia was less hesitant to praise his team’s play, saying the defense was “all-around amazing” and that the defense is starting to realize its potential because players are working together better.
With the nation’s ninth-best scoring offense (2.33 goals per game), any improvement to the defense may go a long way in getting the team to string together some victories. As usual, senior Abimbola Pedro was around the ball much of Tuesday’s game, scoring the team’s second goal in the 73rd minute on a breakaway.
After losing 5-2 to Georgetown last year, the game was played very aggressively. Four yellow cards were issued – two for each side – and two opposing players shoved each other during the game – a precursor of things to come. After the game, Scheer got into a skirmish with a frustrated Georgetown player, drawing each player’s teammates to their aid. The incident did not escalate past shouting and shoving, but the point was made: this game mattered.
“You’ve got to get fired up for a local game, especially Georgetown, because GW competes with Georgetown in everything, not just sports,” Lidster said.
Both Garcia and Lidster noted that an intense out-of-conference match such as Tuesday’s game would help prepare the relatively young team for conference play, which starts Saturday against Richmond at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex.