This was it. With just 30 seconds left in their final home game against St. Bonaventure, the GW men’s soccer team had one last chance to even the 2-1 score line. A draw would put them in the A-10 tournament. A loss, and the season was over. Even goalkeeper Matt Scheer sprinted forward, looking for any chance to score.
But during Sunday’s Senior Day match at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex, even the seniors couldn’t help the Colonials. The corner kick flew well over senior Scheer and was easily cleared by the Bonnies’ defense. Meanwhile, injured senior midfielder Dave Leon could only sit and watch.
As time expired, both held their heads in their hands.
“This is harder than I can explain. When the whistle blew, there were just no feelings. It just kind of hit me, you know?” Leon said after the game. “It’s over. Not the way I wanted it to end.”
It all looked so good for the Colonials (8-6-3, 4-3-2 Atlantic 10) earlier in the weekend, with Yoni Berhanu’s sudden-death golden goal giving the Colonials a 3-2 win over Duquesne on Friday. The result was crucial for the Colonials’ playoff hopes, but it came at quite a price. Junior midfielder Andrew Kroculick received a red card in the match, putting him out for the next game along with freshman defender Jake Davis, who suffered a foot injury in the second half.
The grueling physicality of the Duquesne match (51 fouls between the two teams) didn’t seem to affect the Colonials early Sunday. GW came out strong and struck early as junior Erick Perez-Segnini scored with a header only five minutes into the match.
But as the day wore on, St. Bonaventure was able to break the Colonials down, and by the second half they had evened the scores at one.
“The game on Friday really `beat us up.everyone was really tired,” said freshman forward Ryan Ruffing. “We have a really deep team, but after a certain point, it definitely begins to affect you.”
If it did affect the team, though, they didn’t show it after St. Bonaventure scored. With the introduction of junior Mike Rollings into the game, the Colonials found their offensive rhythm again, creating six scoring chances over the next 20 minutes – any of which could have easily resulted in a goal. St. Bonaventure had David Flynn to thank for keeping it close, as the goalkeeper came up big time after time against solid efforts from Rollings, Perez-Segnini and leading scorer Andy Stadler.
Then the Bonnies scored again. And though the Colonials huffed and puffed, the equalizer quite simply wouldn’t come.
“It sucks,” Stadler said afterward. “We could have scored at least three or four goals – they really only had three or four chances the whole game.”
As it was, the 2-1 loss left GW out of the A-10 tournament by the narrowest of margins. In the sixth and final playoff spot, the Colonials remained tied with Rhode Island on points (14) and head-to-head record (the teams battled to a 1-1 draw earlier this year), so the second tie-breaker, record against common conference opponents, was used. GW got two wins and two losses from the four common teams. Rhode Island: two wins, one loss and one tie. The Colonials missed the playoffs by only half a win.
With GW’s offensive firepower, led by Stadler, the team felt it could have made a run deep into the A-10 tournament. Instead, they will have to wait until next year.