At the beginning of the season, GW men’s soccer coach George Lidster commented that his team would have to “learn how to win away” if they wanted to be successful in the ultra-competitive Atlantic 10 Conference.
Judging by Saturday’s 3-0 win at Richmond, his players seem to have grasped the concept.
The game was the Colonials’ last on the road this regular season, which has seen the Colonials traveling to games 70 percent of the time. With the win, GW (7-5-3, 3-2-2 Atlantic 10) moves into sole possession of sixth place in the A-10. If the season ended today, the Colonials would be the last team into the A-10 Championship tournament.
“Any win away from home in the Atlantic 10 is a good win, especially since it was do-or-die for both teams,” Lidster said of the match. “We really put together a good team performance.”
And for a squad faced with multiple injuries, a team performance was exactly what was needed. Junior defender Byron Walker and senior midfielder Dave Leon both sat out Saturday. Of GW’s starting 11, nine played over 85 minutes of the 90 minute game. Six of them played the full game.
“We have a lot of injuries, so we just didn’t have the personnel,” Lidster said, explaining why the Colonials made so few substitutions. Of course, the injuries didn’t seem to affect GW against the Spiders, as the Colonials came out strong in the first half, controlling possession and creating multiple scoring opportunities.
“It was important to take the sting out of Richmond, since they were the home team,” Lidster said, describing the team’s possession-based tactics to start the match. “In the second half, we just kept to the same game plan. We controlled possession, and the goals came.”
Not only did the goals come – they came almost all at once. Andy Stadler finally broke the deadlock over an hour into the game with a header from a Luke Wildy cross, and five minutes later sophomore Steve Wujek doubled the lead off a through ball from junior Kyle Albrecht. Albrecht would play provider once again just five minutes after his first assist, as Andy Stadler finished nicely off another through ball to put the result out of question.
On Sunday, Lidster praised Albrecht and Wildy, his two central midfielders that created all three GW goals between them.
“They played very well,” he said. “We wanted to control possession and the flow of the game, and it’s the central midfielders who orchestrate that. They did a great job.”
The Colonials can take a big step toward solidifying their place in the postseason this weekend, with games against Duquesne Friday and St. Bonaventure Sunday. The two games will be the last at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex for seniors Leon and Matt Scheer.
Lidster can only hope that Leon, along with all his injured teammates, will be fit enough to play after training this week.
“We’re hoping to get some more healthy bodies,” Lidster said. “We’ve got to keep the players rested and try and get some people back this week, and we’ll be ready to play on Friday.”