After heavy showers doused the field for the game’s opening minutes, senior Erick Perez-Segnini entered the GW men’s soccer team’s contest against Navy Wednesday late in the first half with a sense of determination.
“We’re our own enemy,” he said after the game, referring to the role the Colonials’ own performance plays in the game’s outcome. “If we play well we’re going to win. If we don’t, it’ll be tough.”
Playing 59 minutes off the bench, Perez-Segnini had a significant part in what turned out to be a winning effort for GW, as he scored the Colonials’ second goal in the 82nd minute to secure their 2-0 win.
Entering halftime, the Colonials (5-3-0) had dominated the game’s first 45 minutes with nine attempted shots compared to their opponents’ one. Sophomore goalkeeper Erik Haug made a fingertip save on the Midshipmen’s lone first-half attempt – a laser shot by Navy’s Sam Miller – in what would be the closest scoring chance they had all game.
Navy’s scoring opportunities were limited by GW’s defense, which was led by senior Byron Walker. After the half, head coach George Lidster shifted a few players in the back end to create a flat back-four formation, tightening the defense further .
“The key is to contain them and shut down opportunities to shoot,” Walker said after the game.
The Colonials did just that. Navy maneuvered the ball into GW’s defensive third multiple times, but they were unable to convert any of their possessions into a goal.
Yet just when it may have seemed that the game would remain scoreless, senior Andy Stadler tapped in a loose ball off a chance created by junior Marcus Ranney at the 52:34 mark to give GW the lead. It was Stadler’s conference-leading eighth goal of the season, which also puts him within the top five scorers nationally.
Ranney later collected a second assist on Perez-Segnini’s goal when he took the ball from a defender and found sophomore Yoni Berhanu, who then connected with Perez-Segnini for the goal.
Lidster said the game plan came down to GW holding the ball and dictating the flow of the game, something they were able to accomplish early and carry through to victory.
“All we had to do was maintain possession and get a little tighter on their players, which we did, and then we gained control of the game,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a really tough game… so it was a good win.”
Wednesday’s win was GW’s last home game before embarking on a five game road trip beginning this Friday at Rider and continuing with four pivotal games against Atlantic 10 opponents over the next three weeks.