Entering its Sunday match-up with nationally ranked Saint Louis, the GW men’s soccer team knew a win would not come easy. The Colonials managed to keep the Billikens quiet for a half but gave up three unanswered second half goals and lost 3-1.
Junior Joachim Walker was the first to score – striking in the 37th minute – but the momentum the Colonials (7-7-1, 1-3-1 Atlantic 10) took into halftime was short lived. Goals from Saint Louis’ Scott Wisniewski, Kyle Patterson and Jimmy Holmes came in the first 20 minutes of the second half, quickly taking the wind out of the Colonials’ sails.
“I thought we had a good first half,” head coach George Lidster said. “We kept to the game plan, and the players I thought played very disciplined. In the second half, Saint Louis made a couple of adjustments, and I just don’t know whether we had the belief that we could win it.”
Walker’s goal, one of four GW shots on net, came near the end of a physical first half. Sophomore Mike Briscoe took a GW throw-in near the Billiken goal line and tossed the ball over the head of a mixed pack of Saint Louis and GW players. Running from the opposite flank, the slicing Walker beat his defender and dove at the offering, connecting cleanly and sending the ball into the lower right corner of the net.
Wisniewski’s equalizer came just over one minute into the second half, and Patterson found the back of the Colonials’ net 17 minutes later. Saint Louis broke the Colonials’ back just three and a half minutes later, though, when Tim Ream and Wisniewski played monkey in the middle with GW goalkeeper Greg Yahr. Ream sent a crossing pass over Yahr’s head to Wisniewski, who touched the ball back over the head of Yahr to Holmes, who found himself in front of an empty net for the easy conversion.
“After the third goal, it’s tough to come back. It’s very deflating,” Lidster said.
The Colonials managed to take 17 shots in the match, but a majority of them came from new faces. Three of GW’s points leaders, sophomores Luke Wildy and Andy Stadler and senior Abimbola Pedro, missed all of Sunday’s game with injuries.
Instead, it was junior Thomas Stuber who led the Colonials offensive attack, taking eight shots in the game and putting two of them on goal. Stuber, who said he feels he needs to step up on offense in the absence of his fellow attackers, had a 35 yard blast denied in the first half and put a header over the crossbar with six minutes remaining in the game.
“I feel good and I feel confident; it’s just that I need to do a little better job putting it the net,” he said.
Now 1-3-1 in conference play, Lidster thinks the Colonials need to win their next four games in order to qualify for the A-10 postseason.
“Now is the time where we have to step up. There’s no excuses now,” he said. “We’re still in a position (to make the playoffs), so you can’t ask for any more than that.”
GW’s next game will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at A-10 opponent Duquesne. The Colonials will follow that match with a trip to St. Bonaventure the following Sunday.