For the GW men’s soccer team, the score looked familiar, but the outcome couldn’t have been more different.
Looking to rebound after a disappointing 4-0 loss over the weekend to No. 11 California, the Colonials put together their most complete effort of the season, defeating Longwood by the same 4-0 score at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex Wednesday.
Senior Andy Stadler netted two goals in the game – his fifth and sixth of the season – and moved into seventh place on the all-time points list at GW (3-2-0), though he said his place in Colonials history doesn’t weigh heavily on his mind.
“I really don’t look at that kind of stuff unless you guys cover it,” he said.
Prior to Stadler’s continued climb up GW’s career scoring list, a new entry on the list was created: in the 53rd minute, freshman Seth Rudolph scored his first career goal to put the Colonials up for good after a scoreless first half.
“It was a straightforward goal, but it is just nice to finish off one of those chances,” Rudolph said. The Illinois native made the most of his playing time, registering three shots and leading a number of runs in the second half.
“I was pleased with Rudolph to get on the score sheet,” head coach George Lidster said of Rudolph. “He’s had many chances, and as a freshman. When they just go wide, it’s easy to lose confidence, but I thought he played well today.”
Rudolph is one of a number of Colonials outside the team’s usual contributing core to have made a positive impact early this season, a fact that Lidster said is important considering the lineup’s fluid nature.
“Nobody is a permanent starter on this team, not even Andy Stadler,” Lidster said. “A lot of guys have been jumped in and played great, like [junior Kory] Trott and [freshman goalkeeper Brendan] Lafferty.”
After making a tremendous save in the first half to keep the score level, Lafferty, making his fourth start of the season, didn’t have to worry much in the second half as GW’s defense kept the Lancers at bay. Longwood took eight shots after halftime, but none were on target.
Lafferty said Wednesday’s well-rounded performance came at an important time for the team.
“After the performance at Cal, everyone was nervous coming in, but after today, we’re a sound team again,” he said.
Among the standouts on the defensive side were seniors Byron Walker and Nikolay Aleksandrov, who shut down the right side of the pitch and created perhaps the most beautiful play of the day. Aleksandrov sent a cross over the defense that landed right on the foot of Stadler, and was knocked past the goalie to put the team up 2-0.
“Me and Stad, we’re always looking for each other,” Aleksandrov said. “I just saw him peel off a bit, saw the space, and just played it.”
Senior captain Mike Rollins also scored for the Colonials while classmate Kyle Albrecht registered two assists. Senior forward Erick Perez-Segnini, who scored in last week’s blowout win against the University of D.C., was out with an undisclosed illness, but Lidster said he should be ready for Tuesday’s match at No. 20 Virginia.
The game will present another opportunity for GW to try to assume the part of giant killer, a role Aleksandrov said the Colonials will be better equipped to play after the bounce-back win.
“We really fixed everything that went wrong against Cal, and stuck together to keep it real tight,” Aleksandrov said. “It was a whole team effort, and we can’t wait to take on a ranked team and get it right this time.”