For 89 minutes Saturday, the GW men’s soccer team managed to stay even with its opponent, Howard, keeping the score tied at zero and a victory just one goal away. Then, with less than 60 seconds left in the game, the Colonials went on the attack, sending more players at their opponent’s goal in an attempt to overwhelm the Bison and steal a last-second win.
Instead, it was Howard that capitalized, taking advantage of GW’s weakened defense and netting the winning goal for the Bison in the final minute. The 1-0 loss left the Colonials (0-2) scratching their heads after going winless in the D.C. College Cup to open the season.
“We just pushed too many players forward, there were 30 seconds to go, and we got beat on the counter attack,” head coach George Lidster said. “We’ve gotta put it together for 90 minutes. There’s no way we should have lost that game. We lost our shape, and lost our discipline in the last minute, and we got punished for that.”
GW sophomore forward Seth Rudolph led the Colonials with three shots against the Bison, while junior Yoni Berhanu put a team-high two shots on goal. Rudolph, who was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team after his freshman season, has become a major part of the Colonials’ offensive scheme this season, a role that Lidster said the second-year player is still adjusting to.
“I think he’s progressing well, he looked good in preseason,” Coach Lidster said. “These games, he’s hurrying his shots, he’s hurrying his final pass. When he gets a little more composed he’ll be fine.”
Beyond Rudolph and Berhanu, Lidster said he was especially pleased with the play of his freshman class. GW started three freshmen against the Bison Saturday, and played three more off of the bench, a trend that the Colonials head coach said would repeat throughout the season. How the team’s freshmen develop, Lidster said, will play a major role in determining how the Colonials will fare this season.
“I think it’s a good freshman class. They’re gonna get a lot of playing time,” Lidster said. “It’s going to be a learning experience for them, but I think they can get it together by the [A-10 tournament].”
The Colonials will look to earn their first victory of the season this Wednesday on the road at Longwood. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.