Looking only at the statistics, one might not guess that the GW men’s soccer team could have scoring problems. After all, the team averages two goals per game, has yet to be shut out and went into Tuesday’s game at Virginia Tech having scored five goals in their last three match-ups, all away from home.
But all five of those goals, plus four more from earlier in the season, were scored by junior Andy Stadler – totalling more than half the team’s total. For everyone else on the squad, finishing has become a problem – one that manifested itself in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Virginia Tech.
“We played quite well in the first half, but we couldn’t capitalize on our chances, which allowed them to get back into the game. With them being the home team, they started getting more confidence,” GW head coach George Lidster said Wednesday. “You can’t sustain momentum the whole game. There’s no way. You have to score goals.”
The Colonials forced seven saves out of Hokie goalkeeper Stefan Caulfield through the game but managed only one goal – from Mike Rollings in the second half.
And yet, the Colonials could have very easily gotten at least a tie out of the game with a little luck and a little defense. Andy Stadler thought he had what would have been his tenth goal of the season early in the second half, but his lofted shot from the near the endline was cleared by a Virginia Tech defender before going over the line. According to Lidster, though, the players said that the ball was over the line before being cleared.
“I wasn’t in a position to see it,” Lidster said. “But you can’t rely on that. We had many other chances during the game.”
GW did eventually get the equalizer through Rollings, who scored his first goal of the year. The game looked to be heading for overtime until junior defender Byron Walker brought down Hokie attacker Emmanuel Akogyeram in the penalty box, leading to a penalty kick that Tech’s James Gilson converted for the win. Lidster said he agreed with the referee’s decision, saying that he had “no qualms” about the penalty.
The loss puts a disappointing cap on what has otherwise been a solid out-of-conference schedule for the Colonials – one which Lidster believes will set them up for success in the Atlantic 10 season.
“We’re all obviously very disappointed in this last result. But I think everyone still realizes what we can achieve,” Lidster said. “(A-10 play) is like a brand-new season, and we’re as well-prepared as we could be at this stage.”