Men’s soccer loses ground

It’s been an up-and-down week for the GW men’s soccer team.

Just seven days ago, the Colonials were riding high after big home victories against Temple and St. Joseph’s.

But the team struggled to replicate the same form away from home this weekend, losing 2-0 to Massachusetts Sunday and battling to a 1-1 draw with Rhode Island Friday.

The results knock the Colonials (6-5-3, 2-2-2 Atlantic 10) down from second to seventh in the A-10 standings. The conference’s top six teams make the playoffs, so if the season ended today, the Colonials would miss out on the A-10 tournament for the fourth straight year.

“We had chances, but we didn’t capitalize on them. When you don’t do that, a team like UMass is going to make you pay,” said assistant coach Bryan Davis after the loss to the Minutemen. “We’re a good team, but things just didn’t go our way today.”

Still, GW can take some positives from this weekend. The ankle injury that kept leading scorer Andy Stadler out against St. Joseph’s last week appears to have been nothing serious. The striker started and played the full game against Rhode Island on Friday and most of the loss to UMass on Sunday.

Even better, the Colonials may not have even needed Stadler in the first place. Junior Erick Perez-Segnini continued a string of solid performances by scoring the solitary goal against Rhode Island just eight minutes in to the game. The Colonials also had two goals disallowed, both for errant fouls off the ball.

Those goals would have been useful. Rhode Island fought back after Perez-Segnini’s goal and equalized the score just one second before the stroke of halftime. GW pressured hard for a winner, but the team was unsuccessful despite forcing Rams goalkeeper Chris Pennock into seven saves through both overtime periods.

“On the road, it’s very hard to win. We made plenty of opportunities, but we were very unfortunate,” said Davis.

Sunday’s game against Massachusetts wasn’t quite so even, though freshman Yoni Berhanu nearly got the Colonials off to a dream start with a shot that hit the post in the 14th minute.

After that, GW could only manage eight shots on goal to the Minutemen’s 14, as Stuart Thomson and Prince Ofusu both scored for the home side within the first 45 minutes. Any efforts at a GW comeback were stymied by a resolute UMass defense; the Colonials’ only shot of the match on goal did not come until the 72nd minute.

“We laid it all out for 110 minutes against Rhode Island, so there was a bit of a fatigue factor going in to Sunday,” Davis said. “We just need to go back and work hard for the next game, because we need to win that one.”

With three matches left in the regular season, GW will finish the away portion of its schedule next week when it travels south to play Richmond, which sits only two points behind the Colonials in the A-10 standings. A win would give the Colonials three points, putting them in playoff position.

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